WNBA Power Rankings: Lynx unseat Liberty at No. 1; Sky climb

The WNBA's top plays of the past week (1:54)

Relive the WNBA's top plays from the previous week, including a nice block by Brittney Griner. (1:54)

The Minnesota Lynx are on the move -- just in time for the Commissioner's Cup final.

The Lynx went 3-0 last week to take over the No. 1 spot in ESPN's WNBA Power Rankings and edge in front of the New York Liberty, who had been the top team the past two weeks.

New York, which went 3-1 last week, hosts Minnesota on Tuesday in the championship game of the Commissioner's Cup. It's their second meeting this season, but won't count in the regular-season standings.

The Lynx decisively won the first meeting 84-67 in Minnesota on May 25. The 2024 season was only 11 days old, but it was already clear then that most of the preseason projections about the Lynx were off. They look not like just a playoff team, but a championship contender.

There was little doubt forward Napheesa Collier would have a strong 2024 season, and she's averaging 20.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists. But the Lynx made some key moves around her in the offseason -- such as bringing in Courtney Williams and Alanna Smith from the Chicago Sky -- and they have paid off.

Even without last year's No. 2 draft pick, Diamond Miller (she hasn't played since May 23 because of a knee injury), the Lynx are first in assists (24.0), 3-point percentage (39.8), defensive rating (90.6) and net rating (12.9). They rank second in scoring defense (73.8 PPG) and field goal percentage (45.3) and third in scoring (84.5 PPG).

Kayla McBride, in her 11th season in the WNBA, is averaging 16.1 points and shooting 46.4% behind the arc. She and New York's Sabrina Ionescu are tied for the league lead with 52 3-pointers. Smith (12.0 PPG) and Williams (10.4) are also averaging in double-figures scoring.

"One of the perks of our offense -- why it's so hard to guard us -- is everyone is a threat to pass, to shoot, to score, to drive," Collier said.

There really isn't anything the Lynx aren't doing well. They're fifth in rebounding (35.1 RPG), and want to be even better there, too.

"We want to go really far this season," Collier said. "To that, we know rebounding has to be a habit."

While things are looking good for the Lynx and the Liberty now, it was a rough week injurywise for the WNBA. No. 2 draft pick Cameron Brink of the Los Angeles Sparks was lost for the season to an ACL injury suffered Tuesday, and 2022 No. 1 pick and Rookie of the Year Rhyne Howard of the Atlanta Dream suffered an ankle injury Wednesday that has her out indefinitely. Both were named to the U.S. 3x3 Olympic team earlier this month. Brink must be replaced; at this point, Howard hopes to be back for the Paris Games.

Previous rankings: Preseason | May 20 | May 27 | June 3 | June 10 | June 17

1. Minnesota Lynx (13-3)

Previous ranking: 3

This week: @ NY (June 25; Commissioner's Cup final), @ DAL (June 27), @ CHI (June 30)

The Lynx are 8-1 in June, with the only loss coming on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at Phoenix. After three victories at home last week -- over Dallas, Atlanta and Phoenix -- they have their next four on the road, including the Commissioner's Cup final. The Lynx have won 11 games this season by double digits, the most in the league.

Napheesa Collier's 23-point double-double leads Lynx to dominant win

Napheesa Collier cooks the Mercury for 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Lynx to a 73-60 win.

2. New York Liberty (15-3)

Previous ranking: 1

This week: vs. MIN (June 25; Commissioner's Cup final), vs. ATL (June 30)

The Liberty dropped a spot in the Power Rankings, but have to be happy with how they are playing. After a 98-93 loss at Phoenix last Tuesday, they beat the Sparks twice in New York, then topped the Dream in Atlanta. Now, they will try to defend their title in the Commissioner's Cup, which they won last year over Las Vegas. Courtney Vandersloot, who is dealing with the death of her mother, has missed the past eight games but is back with the team and will return to action when she's ready. In her absence, Sabrina Ionescu had done well in running the point.

Sabrina Ionescu scores 26 with 11 assists in Liberty win

Sabrina Ionescu scores 26 points and dishes 11 assists to aid in Liberty's win over Dream 96-75.

3. Connecticut Sun (13-3)

Previous ranking: 2

This week: @ WAS (June 27), vs. ATL (June 28)

After a win over the Sparks, the Sun made their first 2024 trip to the Pacific time zone over the weekend -- and it didn't go well. Connecticut lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, falling at Las Vegas and Seattle. The Sun scored a season-low 61 points against the Storm and had more turnovers (14) than assists (13). It's back to the East Coast this week, and the Sun hope that means a return to form.

4. Seattle Storm (10-6)

Previous ranking: 4

This week: vs. IND (June 27), vs. DAL (June 29)

The Storm, who went 1-1 last week with a loss at Las Vegas and a win over Connecticut, could make a big move in the next month. Sunday's victory was the start of nine home games in a row. They play just once more on the road -- at Los Angeles on July 16 -- before the break for the All-Star Game and Olympics. Skylar Diggins-Smith continues to excel as a distributor; she is fifth in the league at 6.1 assists per game.

5. Phoenix Mercury (8-8)

Previous ranking: 5

This week: vs. L.A. (June 28), vs. IND (June 30)

The Mercury are in the same spot as last week: still at .500 and a team everyone is wary about facing. They looked good offensively in beating New York 99-93 on Tuesday. But it was just the opposite Saturday at Minnesota, when the Mercury were held to 60 points and shot 31.1% from the field. Now would be a great time for the Mercury to find consistency as they play just one team -- Connecticut, twice -- currently in the top eight in the standings in their nine games remaining before the Olympic break.

6. Las Vegas Aces (8-6)

Previous: 6

This week: @ CHI (June 27), @ WAS (June 29)

The Aces stayed put in the Power Rankings, but in a good way: They beat Seattle and Connecticut last week and got Chelsea Gray back. Gray, who had not played since a foot injury suffered in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals last year, got a huge ovation when she returned Wednesday against the Storm. After the Aces had lost four of five, the two wins in a row considerably lightened the mood in Vegas. A'ja Wilson continued to cook, combining for 53 points and 25 rebounds.

A'ja Wilson fuels Aces past Sun with double-double

A'ja Wilson dominates the game with 26 points and a whopping 16 rebounds in the Aces' win over the Sun Friday night.

7. Chicago Sky (6-9)

Previous ranking: 11

This week: vs. LV (June 27), vs. MIN (June 30)

The Sky's big jump was thanks to their victories over Dallas and Indiana, but also the fact that other teams like Atlanta, Los Angeles and Dallas are struggling. Sky post players Angel Reese (41 points, 34 rebounds) and Kamilla Cardoso (25, 21) had their best week so far. Guard Chennedy Carter also stood out with a combined 42 points in the two games.

Angel Reese powers Sky past Fever with 8th straight double-double

Angel Reese's 25 points and 16 rebounds propel the Sky past the Fever.

8. Indiana Fever (7-11)

Previous ranking: 8

This week: @ SEA (June 27), @ PHO (June 30)

The Fever beat Washington and Atlanta last week for their third and fourth victories in a row, something the franchise hadn't done since 2015. Then they let a 15-point lead get away in a one-point loss at Chicago. Still, being a basket short of a five-game winning streak is good news for the Fever as they head West this week. Caitlin Clark had a combined 51 points, 26 assists, 22 rebounds and 8 steals in the three games.

Caitlin Clark scores 17, dishes 13 in last-second loss to Sky

Check out all of Caitlin Clark's buckets as she drops 17 points and 13 assists in a tense 88-87 loss to the Chicago Sky that went down to the wire.

9. Washington Mystics (4-13)

Previous ranking: 9

This week: vs. CON (June 27), vs. LV (June 29)

The Mystics held steady after two more victories. Admittedly, both were at home over free-falling Dallas. Still, Washington has won four of its last five. After starting 0-12, the Mystics have four more losses than Atlanta, but they're ahead of the Dream in the Power Rankings based on recent play. Veteran center Stefanie Dolson had her best week of the season with a combined 48 points and 25 rebounds in the three games.

10. Atlanta Dream (6-9)

Previous ranking: 7

This week: @ CON (June 28), @ NY (June 30)

There's concern, of course, for Howard, who turned her ankle on a drive to the basket in a loss at Minnesota last Wednesday. That was followed by losses to Indiana and New York. The Dream have dropped three in a row and five of their last six. Some good news: Guard Jordin Canada made her injury-delayed season debut on Sunday, getting 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in 14 minutes vs. the Liberty. Canada previously played with Seattle and Los Angeles before being traded to Atlanta in February.

11. Los Angeles Sparks (4-13)

Previous ranking: 10

This week: @ PHO (June 28)

It was a crushing week for the franchise with Brink's season-ending injury. Her rookie year ends after 15 games, in which she averaged 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots. The Sparks signed Queen Egbo, a center who should be able to help off the bench. If there's some good news for the Sparks, it's that their seven-game road stretch -- they've lost the first six -- will be over with a trip to Phoenix this week.

12. Dallas Wings (3-13)

Previous ranking: 12

This week: vs. MIN (June 27), @ SEA (June 29)

The Wings lost all four games last week, and their losing streak is now 11 in a row. Forward Natasha Howard returned from injury -- she was sidelined after the opener May 15 -- and had 58 points and 17 rebounds in her first three games back. However, forward Maddy Siegrist was lost until after the Olympic break with a broken finger. At this point, the Wings are just hoping for something to go right.