WNBA Power Rankings 2024: Connecticut Sun take over top spot

Angel Reese just misses double-double in big win vs. Liberty (0:53)

Angel Reese scores 13 points and grabs nine boards in the Chicago Sky's 90-81 victory over New York Liberty. (0:53)

One game was the difference-maker for the top spot in this week's ESPN WNBA Power Rankings.

And for the first time in over 650 days, a team other than the Las Vegas Aces or New York Liberty is No. 1.

The Connecticut Sun beat the Minnesota Lynx 83-82 in overtime Tuesday. Combined with the Aces' loss to the Phoenix Mercury, Connecticut -- the lone unbeaten team in the WNBA -- moves to the No. 1 spot.

The top two teams in our preseason rankings -- the 2023 champion Aces and runner-up Liberty -- have lost home games already, which few would have predicted. Chelsea Gray's absence (foot injury) is one of the things that has kept the Aces from being their best, while the Liberty have looked really good at times -- and really out of sync other times.

The Sun have proved they don't have to be atop any particular statistical category to top the WNBA standings. But the categories they lead -- free throws made (20.6 per game) and attempted (24.6) -- illustrate how aggressive the Sun are.

The Lynx, meanwhile, have won every other game this season. Minnesota leads the league in field goals made (33.0), field goal percentage (47.0), 3-point percentage (38.6), assists (24.4) and steals (11.8).

And that helps make Wednesday's Lynx-Aces matchup in Minneapolis one of the most anticipated games of this week.

Las Vegas or New York ranked first every week of ESPN's 2023 Power Rankings. Up until this week, the Chicago Sky are the most recent team outside of the Aces or Liberty to lead the rankings, in August 2022, the final week of that regular season.

Previous rankings: Preseason | May 20

1. Connecticut Sun (5-0)

Previous ranking: 3

This week: vs. PHO (May 28), vs. DAL (May 31), @ ATL (June 2)

Nothing stopped the Sun last week. They held off upset-minded Indiana by four points, beat surging Minnesota by one in overtime and then got past Chicago on the road by four, despite star Alyssa Thomas being ejected in the third quarter after a hard foul on Sky rookie Angel Reese. DeWanna Bonner led Connecticut with a combined 61 points in the three victories, which included the winning free throws in the OT victory.

2. Minnesota Lynx (4-1)

Previous ranking: 4

This week: vs. LV (May 29), vs. PHO (May 31), vs. DAL (June 2)

The Lynx were a basket away from the top spot in the Power Rankings, but they suffered a tough 83-82 overtime loss at Connecticut on Thursday. But despite that defeat and the indefinite loss of second-year player Diamond Miller (knee injury), Minnesota's top draft pick last season, the Lynx got back-to-back wins Saturday (New York) and Sunday (Atlanta). Kayla McBride had a big day Sunday with 31 points, making her first nine shots from the field. Dorka Juhasz joined the Lynx after finishing her overseas season; she had eight points and eight rebounds in the weekend games. This week brings a big three-game homestand.

3. Las Vegas Aces (3-1)

Previous: 1

This week: at MIN (May 29), at ATL (May 31)

The Aces lost just one regular-season home game last year, plus the Commissioner's Cup final. Both of those were in August. So we weren't expecting an Aces loss in Las Vegas so early in the 2024 season. But the Aces' defense let them down in Tuesday's 98-88 loss to Phoenix. Coach Becky Hammon said it would be a good wake-up call for the two-time defending champions, and they responded Saturday with a blowout win over Indiana. After starting with four consecutive home games, the Aces play four of their next five on the road.

4. Dallas Wings (3-2)

Previous ranking: 9

This week: @ CON (May 31), @ MIN (June 2)

The Wings made a big jump in the Power Rankings by winning two of three on the road last week. They started with a loss at Atlanta on Tuesday but bounced back with weekend victories at Phoenix and Los Angeles. Guard Arike Ogunbowale scored 24, 40 and 20 points in the three games. Her 19-point fourth quarter against the Mercury is the highest-scoring quarter this season by a WNBA player.

Second-year pro Maddy Siegrist also had her two best back-to-back games: vs. the Mercury (22 points, 9 rebounds) and Sparks (15 points, 8 rebounds). And Monique Billings is making the Sparks regret waiving her just before the start of the season. She had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists against Los Angeles and is averaging 15.3 PPG and 8.5 RPG.

5. Phoenix Mercury (3-2)

Previous ranking: 5

This week: @ CON (May 28), @ NY (May 29), @ MIN (May 31), vs. LA (June 2)

Tuesday's victory at Las Vegas was the Mercury's highlight last week. The biggest frustration? Giving up 107 points at home in Saturday's loss to Dallas. Kahleah Copper leads the WNBA at 29.2 PPG, and Diana Taurasi seems to have turned back the clock a bit as she's at 19.0 PPG. The Mercury eagerly await the return of center Brittney Griner from a toe injury, but overall, they've had a good start without her.

6. New York Liberty (4-2)

Previous ranking: 2

This week: vs. PHO (May 29), vs. WAS (May 31), vs. IND (June 2)

After a 4-0 start to the season, the Liberty had a rough week. They lost at home to Chicago and at Minnesota. New York was outrebounded in both games, while Jonquel Jones was held to single-digit scoring in each while shooting 38.5% overall. For as good as the Liberty have looked at some points this season, they really don't seem in sync at others. Maybe three games at home this week will help.

7. Seattle Storm (3-3)

Previous ranking: 7

This week: @ CHI (May 28), @ IND (May 30)

The Storm beat two teams they were "supposed" to beat last week -- Indiana and Washington at home -- but wins are wins, especially for a team trying to build chemistry with the additions of Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith. Jewell Loyd was key in the Storm's tight 85-83 victory against the Fever, with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. In a 32-point blowout of the Mystics, five Storm players scored in double figures as Seattle shot 61.7% from the field. Diggins-Smith (16 points) had a season-high nine assists.

8. Chicago Sky (2-2)

Previous ranking: 8

This week: vs. SEA (May 28), vs. LA (May 30), at IND (June 1)

First-year coach Teresa Weatherspoon's Sky are off to a much better start than most were predicting. Their victories were on the road against 2023 playoff teams (Dallas in week 1 and New York this past week) and both losses were by single digits against playoff teams (Dallas, Connecticut). Guard Marina Mabrey leads the way with 19.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 5.5 APG. Rookie Angel Reese is the Sky's top rebounder (7.3 RPG) and second-leading scorer (12.3). She took a hard foul from Connecticut's Alyssa Thomas (who was ejected) on Saturday and got right back up. Reese wants to improve her shooting percentage (35.7) but overall is doing well.

9. Atlanta Dream (2-2)

Previous ranking: 6

This week: @ WAS (May 29), vs. LA (May 31), vs. CON (June 1)

The Dream went 1-1 last week -- they beat Dallas and lost to Minnesota -- and just got passed by other teams to drop three spots in the Power Rankings. That happens a lot over the course of the season as teams with similar talent jockey for position in the standings. Rhyne Howard (2022 No. 1 pick) is off to a strong start, leading Atlanta in scoring (21.0) and steals (2.8). Vets Allisha Gray, Tina Charles and Cheyenne Parker-Tyus are also averaging in double figures.

10. Indiana Fever (1-6)

Previous ranking: 12

This week: vs. LA (May 28), vs. SEA (May 30), vs. CHI (June 1)

The Fever got their first win (78-73 at Los Angeles on Friday) and their first look at the two-time defending champion Aces (99-80 loss in Las Vegas on Saturday). They have played the most games of any WNBA team and looked weary at Vegas. It's another busy week for the Fever, but all three games are at home. Caitlin Clark leads in points (15.4), assists (6.3) and steals (1.1); she and fellow guard Kelsey Mitchell (14.0 PPG) are starting to jell. Veteran center Temi Fagbenle -- whose energy has been a lift to the Fever -- moved into the starting lineup at Vegas. And Aliyah Boston had her best game of the season at Los Angeles.

11. Los Angeles Sparks (1-4)

Previous ranking: 10

This week: @ IND (May 28), @ CHI (May 30), @ PHO (June 2)

The Sparks have just the one victory -- last Tuesday vs. Washington -- but three of their losses are by single digits. So there are positive things for Los Angeles to look at despite the record. Over the weekend at home, the Sparks lost to Indiana by five points and Dallas by one. Rookie Cameron Brink had a combined 36 points in those games and leads the WNBA in blocked shots (3.2 BPG). She and teammate Rickea Jackson will face two other high-profile rookies this week in Clark (for the second time) and Reese.

12. Washington Mystics (0-6)

Previous ranking: 11

This week: vs. ATL (May 29), @ NY (May 31)

There was little doubt this could be a challenging season for the Mystics, with Elena Delle Donne not playing and Natasha Cloud leaving as a free agent for Phoenix. Things got worse with the May 17 injury to guard Brittney Sykes (ankle). And in Saturday's 32-point loss at Seattle, the Mystics also were without center Shakira Austin (not with team, personal reasons). This is Washington's worst start since losing its first eight games in the 2007 season. It's not all gloom: The Mystics' first five losses were all by single digits, and they've played four of their first six games on the road.