As midseason point nears, parity ruling the day in WNBA
NEW YORK (AP) — Parity is rampant in the WNBA this season as the league reaches the midway point.
Only three losses separate the top eight teams.
Phoenix, Los Angeles and Seattle are at the top of the standings. Minnesota got off to a rough start, but lately has turned things around with seven consecutive victories.
“I think it’s the best and I’ve been in the league a lot of years. It’s the best year since I’ve been here. Every team has everyone playing for them with no one sitting out,” Seattle coach Dan Hughes said. “There’s a fine line between a lot of us. If you’re not on your game every night you’re probably going to get beat.”
Seattle’s next opponent is New York on Tuesday night. The Liberty have struggled to a 5-11 start this season after finishing with the third best record the past few seasons. New York has nearly the entire team back and just seem a play or two away from winning games.
“We’re right there, we just are missing a rebound or a defensive assignment,” Liberty forward Shavonte Zellous said. “We still have faith in each other that we can turn things around.”
New York is currently sitting in 11th place in the standings. The only team that is below the Liberty is the Indiana Fever, who is off to the worst start in franchise history with a 1-16 record. They are in danger of breaking the record for the league’s worst season set by the Tulsa Shock in 2011 when they went 3-31.
Phoenix took over the No. 1 position in the power poll for the first time since it began three years ago.
POWER POLL: A look at this week’s WNBA poll:
1. Phoenix (13-5): Suffered a big blow when Sancho Lyttle was lost for the season with an ACL injury.
2. Seattle (12-5): Storm plays seven of their 10 remaining 10 games in July on the road.
3. Minnesota (10-6): Seven straight wins has vaulted the Lynx back into the thick of the race for the top seeds. Maya Moore has been putting up MVP-type numbers during the streak.
4. Los Angeles (12-5): Lost a couple games in a row with Nneka Ogwumike sidelined with a back injury. She returned and the Sparks won again.
5. Washington (10-6): Come to a difficult part of the schedule with seven of 10 games this month on the road.
6. Connecticut (9-7): Have three more road games before finally getting a chance to head home again. Sun play 11 of final 15 games at home.
7. Atlanta (8-8): Finally have everyone healthy and have been getting qualities minutes from Imani McGee-Stafford.
8. Dallas (7-8): Wings suffered a scary moment when Liz Cambage got poked in the eye against Minnesota. Fortunately all tests came back negative.
9. Las Vegas (6-12): The Aces got Moriah Jefferson back from her microfracture surgery and could make a surprising run to the playoffs.
10. Chicago (6-10): Won three straight before a tough overtime loss to New York on Sunday.
11. New York (5-11): It took overtime, but the Liberty snapped a five-game losing streak with a win in Chicago.
12. Indiana (1-16): Signed Cappie Pondexter on Sunday to get a little more veteran leadership in the locker room.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Maya Moore averaged 27.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists to lead Minnesota to three more wins this past week. Diana Taurasi also received votes this week.
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Sparks at Lynx, Thursday. The two WNBA finalists from the past two years will play for the third time this season. Los Angeles has won the first two meetings.
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To find the poll online: https://collegebasketball.ap.org/ap-wnba-power-poll-week-8-0