By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
The 2012 WNBA season kicked off this past Friday night at KeyArena with the Seattle Storm falling 72-66 to the Los Angeles Sparks. The schedule is now in full swing and each week I will be releasing my own version of the WNBA power rankings. This is the first installment of the season.
1. Minnesota Lynx (2-0), The Lynx picked up the 2012 season where they left off in 2011 — winning. Minnesota has convincing victories over Phoenix and New York to start the season and once again look like the team to beat in the WNBA.
2. Los Angeles Sparks (2-0), After selecting Nneka Ogwumike from Stanford with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 WNBA draft, it seemed apparent that the Sparks would be much improved. They have opened the season with two victories over the Seattle Storm, including a 21-point comeback. The Storm have a new look lineup, but are no slouches. The Sparks are off to a nice start and look like they will be a playoff team in 2012.
3. Connecticut Sun (2-0), Two victories over New York to start the season, but the Sun are undefeated. With a short season and a month long break for the Olympics, getting off to a fast start is crucial and the Sun have done just that.
4. Indiana Fever (1-0), The Fever were the best team in the East last season and got off to a nice start in 2012 with an 8-point win over Atlanta, who figures to be in the mix for the best record in the East as well. The Fever’s sample size is small, but they have done all that has been asked of them so far.
5. San Antonio Silver Stars (1-0), The Silver Stars have a victory over Tulsa on their resume so far. The Shock were just 3-31 in 2011, but figure to be much improved this year. In the competitive West, it doesn’t matter who you beat, wins are going to be of extreme importance as the season goes forward.
6. Chicago Sky (1-0), The Sky opened the season with a 12-point win over Washington and figure to be much improved in 2012. Their trade for Swin Cash was one of the biggest acquisitions of the offseason.
7. Phoenix Mercury (1-1), Where the Mercury will finish and how far they will go remain in question, but as they are every season, they are the most exciting team to watch in the WNBA. They are also one of the few teams in the league that can get into a shootout with Minnesota and still have a chance to win.
8. Seattle Storm (0-2), Yes, the Storm are winless, but they have only played one team so far. The schedule doesn’t get any easier as they face the defending champion Lynx on Sunday, but as soon as their new-look lineup gets used to playing with each other, they should once again be a team to beat in the West.
9. Atlanta Dream (0-1), The sample size is small for the Dream also, but an 8-point loss to one of, if not the best team, in the East is not a bad loss. The Dream will be just fine.
10. Washington Mystics (0-1), It’s only been one game, but something tells me it’s going to be a long season for the Mystics.
11. Tulsa Shock (0-2), 3-31 last season and they have started out 0-2 this season, but something tells me this young team is going to be tough to beat. I don’t think they are ready to be a playoff team quite yet, but they could spoil a few other teams chances to be playoff teams.
12. New York Liberty (0-3), Not the start the Liberty could have hoped for, but I don’t think it is anything more than just that — a slow start.