Sparks replace banged-up Lynx atop the AP WNBA power poll
By DOUG FEINBERG
Aug. 22, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) — The Minnesota Lynx are banged up and struggling.
Lindsay Whalen has been sidelined for a few weeks with a broken bone in her hand and Rebekkah Brunson is out with a sprained ankle. Without the two starters, the Lynx have dropped three of their last four games and fell out of first in The Associated Press WNBA power poll for the first time since week 2. Los Angeles took over the top spot Tuesday.
Whalen said she's recovering well, but isn't sure when she'll be back. Coach Cheryl Reeve was hopefully to have Brunson back soon.
"No one is feeling sorry for us," Reeve said.
While the Lynx have hit a rough patch, Seattle hasn't lost a game since changing coaches. With Gary Kloppenburg leading the way, the Storm have won four straight and are close to clinching a playoff spot.
POWER POLL: Los Angeles is No. 1 again after spending the last 12 weeks at No. 2.
1. Los Angeles (21-8): The Sparks are rolling behind the strong play of Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike.
2. Minnesota (22-6): Four of the team's final six games are against squads chasing playoff berths.
3. Connecticut (19-10): Sun clinched a home game in the playoffs, now they are looking to seal at least a first-round bye.
4. New York (17-12): Five straight wins, including victories over the top three teams in the poll have Liberty soaring.
5. Washington (17-12): A big game in New York looms Friday night that will go a long way in determining if the Mystics can get a first-round bye.
6. Phoenix (15-14): Mercury look to rebound from a blowout loss in Connecticut when they face Minnesota on Tuesday night.
7. Seattle (14-16): A rejuvenated Storm team will try and continue to climb in the standings.
8. Dallas (14-16): A punch cost Glory Johnson a game. The Wings will try and wrap up a playoff berth this week.
9. Chicago (11-18): The Sky picked the wrong time to swoon and look like they are headed to the draft lottery.
10. Atlanta (10-20): It's been a rough month for the Dream, who are 0-7 in August.
11. San Antonio (7-23): The Stars continue to play well, but just keep falling a little short.
12. Indiana (9-21): The postseason streak of 12 straight playoff berths is over. Now the Fever will try and play spoilers.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Lynx at Sparks, Sunday. The Sparks will need to win to have any hope of earning the top seed in the playoffs.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Breanna Stewart, Storm. Averaged 18 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks to help Seattle go 3-0 this week and move closer to clinching a playoff spot. Other players to receive votes included Los Angeles' Candace Parker and New York's Tina Charles.
RECORD ROUT: The one game that Minnesota did win this past week was a 59-point victory over Indiana. That was the largest margin of victory in league history, easily eclipsing the previous record of 46 that Seattle set in rout of Tulsa in 2010. The Lynx had a 37-0 run during the game that was the largest spurt in WNBA history as well. Minnesota also set the record for biggest halftime lead; the Lynx were up 68-23 at the break.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE MARK: Los Angeles had four players with double-doubles in its double overtime win over Chicago. Nneka Ogwumike had 32 points and 10 rebounds while Candace Parker had 29 points and 12 boards. The Sparks starting backcourt of Chelsea Gray and Odyssey Sims also had double-doubles. Gray had 20 points and Sims had 15. Each added 10 assists while not turning the ball over once.
PASSING THE BALL: Los Angeles broke the league's team assist record in that double overtime win over Chicago with 34. That was one more than the previous mark. Seattle tied it a few days later also against Chicago. The Storm only needed regulation to do it.
SUSPENSION: Dallas' Glory Johnson was suspended for a game for throwing a punch against Matee Ajavon during a game against Atlanta. Johnson wasn't happy that only she got suspended and expressed her displeasure on Instagram .
To find the poll online: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/ap-wnba-power-poll-week-15
Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg