By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
The WNBA has reached its halfway point and has begun a month-long break for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Here are the power rankings at the halfway point.
1. San Antonio Silver Stars (13-5), After a nine game winning streak the Silver Stars become the first team to dethrone the Lynx in my power rankings this season. The Silver Stars impressive turnaround after a 4-5 start should have the rest of the league taking notice.
2. Minnesota Lynx (15-4), The Lynx lost three of their final five games before the break and for the first time this season they appear vulnerable. Despite the fact that many of the Lynx players will be busy competing in the Summer Olympics, the break might come at a good time to help get the Lynx refocused on a run toward back-to-back championships.
3. Connecticut Sun (15-4), Tina Charles is my vote for MVP at the halfway point and the Sun are easily the best team in the East right now. With as competitive as the Western Conference is, being the best team in the East is not a bad place to be.
4. Los Angeles Sparks (15-6), The Sparks have had some inconsistent moments, but with Candace Parker playing some of the best basketball in the league the Sparks are championship contender to be taken seriously.
5. Seattle Storm (9-10), The Storm weren’t quite able to get to .500 before the break, but they have won eight of their last 11 after the worst start in team history. With key players expected to return from injury after the break and Lauren Jackson returning from missing the first half of the season training for the Olympics, the Storm might be the most dangerous team on this list going into the second half of the season.
6. Indiana Fever (10-7), The Fever’s first half has been somewhat disappointing. They have the talent to be at the top of the Eastern Conference and have at times look like the best team in the East, but inconsistency has plagued the Fever in the first half. If Indiana can start closing out more games in the second half they will move back up the rankings.
7. Chicago Sky (8-9), There is no doubt that the injury to guard Epiphanny Prince has hurt the Sky tremendously. The free fall that the Sky experienced after Prince’s injury exposed many of their weaknesses. If Prince is unable to return the Sky have to figure out a way to win without her or this could be a lost season.
8. Atlanta Dream (9-10), The Dream gotten off to slow starts the past two seasons and they have represented the East in the WNBA Finals in each of those seasons. This season they have a dominant record against Western Conference teams which bodes well for them if they are able to pull of a third-straight trip to the championship round.
9. New York Liberty (6-12), Offense isn’t a problem for the Liberty, but slowing down the opponent can be. The Liberty need a strong start in the second half of the season to challenge for a playoff spot in the East.
10. Tulsa Shock (3-15), This is the first time that I can remember that the Shock and the Washington Mystics aren’t the final two teams on this list. The Shock have shown some good signs in the first half and have been competitive in many of their games. They have to find a way to turn some of those games into wins in the second half.
11. Washington Mystics (4-14), The Mystics just don’t have the talent to compete consistently with the better teams in the league.
12. Phoenix Mercury (4-15), It’s easy to feel sorry for the Mercury, who aren’t here because of a lack of talent, but because of injuries. Without Penny Taylor for all of the season and Diana Taurasi for most of the season, the Mercury have had trouble competing with anyone. The nine-game losing streak leading into the month long break gives me no choice but to put them in the cellar.