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WNBA Power Rankings: The Dallas Wings are better than their record

(Abbie Parr / Getty Images)

The WNBA standings tell one story, the tape and advanced statistics sometimes another.

We dug into all of it this week to make sense of the increasingly competitive middle tier and the teams that might be under- or over-performing. Here is where we landed on every team over a quarter of the way through the season.

12. Indiana Fever (1-11) —

The Fever play a heavy post game, with 41.7 percent of their points per game coming in the paint. The problem is they’re not finishing those shots efficiently enough — they are eighth in the WNBA with 31.3 paint points per game — and their offense is predictable for opponents.

11. Los Angeles Sparks (4-5) -2

The Sparks’ wins this season have come against the last-place Fever and the Sky without Candace Parker. They rank last in the league in offensive rating, scoring just 74.2 points per game, and will be without Nneka Ogwumike until the first week of July at the earliest.

10. Chicago Sky (4-7) +1

I’m taking the Sky’s back-to-back wins over the Fever with a grain of salt, but Candace Parker rounding into form with a double-double in her second game back is promising for Chicago. Taking care of the ball continues to be a problem, with opponents scoring 18.2 points per game off of Chicago turnovers.

9. Washington Mystics (4-6) +1

When Tina Charles scores 20 or more points in a game, the Mystics usually put themselves in a position to win. But for how long can Washington rely on their center? Charles is leading the league in points per game with 24 as well as in usage percentage, with the Mystics running 32.1 percent of their plays through her.

8. Atlanta Dream (5-6) -1

When the Dream’s offense is on, they’re a hard team to beat. Excluding their win over the Fever, when the Dream have reached the 90-point threshold in a game, they’ve won. When they haven’t, they’ve lost. It’s the inconsistency that raises concerns at this point in the season.

7. Phoenix Mercury (5-6) -3

All of the Mercury’s losses this season — except a drubbing by the Sun on May 21 — have come by single digits. They’re playing teams close and are just a few late baskets away from having a winning record. Their biggest problem is their bench not getting it done, currently last in the league with 11.6 points per game.

6. Minnesota Lynx (4-5) -1

That the Lynx have won four games given all of their roster turnover is a testament to coach Cheryl Reeve. She’ll have to go back to the drawing board again now that both Aerial Powers and Natalie Achonwa are out indefinitely with injuries. I’m not counting her out from finding an answer.

5. New York Liberty (6-4) +3

The Liberty are dealing with injuries to Natasha Howard and Sabrina Ionescu but continue to battle against good teams, mostly due to Betnijah Laney’s MVP-like start to the season. As long as the Liberty are connecting on their league-leading attempts from 3 (currently 40.2 percent), they’ll give themselves a chance.

4. Dallas Wings (5-6) +2

Welcome to another edition of “the Wings are better than their record shows.” They’re fourth in the league in offensive rating — behind only the Sun, Aces and Storm — and their bench is scoring a WNBA-leading 26.3 points per game. This is a deep team that’s only getting better as returning players acclimate to the system.

3. Connecticut Sun (8-3) -1

The Sun’s loss to the Storm on Sunday gave us a taste of what life will be like for Connecticut until Jonquel Jones returns from her EuroBasket commitments. For a team at the top of the league standings, the Sun surprisingly have the second-least productive bench. That could hurt them during this stint without Jones and down the stretch.

2. Las Vegas Aces (8-3) +1

The Aces are getting it done with their post players, scoring a league-leading 39.6 points per game in the paint. That dominance down low is also translating to defense, where they hold opponents to just 30.7 points per game in the paint. Not many teams can compete with that.

1. Seattle Storm (10-2) —

Unlike the Aces, the Storm are giving up the majority of their points in the paint. That doesn’t matter as much when you’re leading the league in offensive rating and 3-point percentage at 40.8 percent.

Esme Morgan Signs With Washington Spirit

Esme Morgan of England inspects the pitch prior to the UEFA Women's EURO 2025 qualifying match between England and France
The England national will join the Spirit in DC on July 15th. (Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

English defender Esme Morgan has signed with the Washington Spirit, the club announced Thursday. 

Morgan had been with WSL side Manchester City since 2017, with one year remaining on her contract. She’ll now make a move to the NWSL, with City receiving a fee for the move. 

"I wanted to join the Spirit because they have the ambition and tools to be the best team in the NWSL, and trying to achieve that will be a great but enjoyable challenge," Morgan said in a club statement.

"On an individual level too, the opportunity to work under Jonatan [Giráldez], one of the world's best coaches, is really exciting and I look forward to learning from him and pushing myself to become the best player I can be, hopefully helping the team to success."

According to ESPN, Morgan’s lack of playing time under City manager Gareth Taylor played a key role in her decision to leave the league championship runners-up. She’ll join the Spirit in Washington, DC on July 15th, but won’t be able to begin play until August. 

Spirit president Mark Krikorian called Morgan an "exceptional talent" and added that the club is "thrilled" to add her to the roster.

"I think she’s pretty talented," Giraldez told reporters on Friday. "A young player with a great future, but with experience already in a great league and with the national team. She’s been surrounded by great players and also great coaches, so she can give us experience."

Ledecky Goes for 4 at Olympic Swimming Trials

Swimmer katie ledecky swimming at Toyota US Open
Decorated swimmer Katie Ledecky is aiming to make her fourth-straight Olympic squad. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

The US Olympic Swimming Trials begin this weekend, running from June 15th through June 23rd in Indianapolis, with Katie Ledecky eyeing her fourth-straight Summer Games.

While traditionally held in Omaha, Indiana's Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, has been fitted with a 50-meter pool to host the meet that will determine the 2024 Paris Olympics roster.

All eyes will be on seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, who will be competing in the 200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1500-meter freestyle — all events in which she’s been an Olympic champion. 

Rival Ariarne Titmus had her trials last week, breaking the world record in the 200-meter freestyle. Ledecky’s 200 is intended to qualify her for the Olympic relay. Meanwhile stateside, Katie Grimes stands to be a challenger in the 1500-meter freestyle has already qualified for the Paris Olympics in the 10km open water event.

Other competitors of note include 47-year-old Gabrielle Rose, who stands to become the oldest US Swimming Olympic qualifier in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke.

Additionally, Kate Douglass — an NCAA and World Champion — is a favorite to make her first Olympic team in the 200-meter IM and 200-meter breaststroke. Simone Manuel, an Olympic champion in the 100-meter freestyle, is also looking to make her third-straight Olympics.

Where to watch: The Trials will be streaming all week on Peacock, with later qualifying heats airing live on USA Network and event finals airing in primetime on NBC.

Orlando and Kansas City Shoot for 13 in NWSL Weekend Action

NWSL's T. Chawinga #6 of the Kansas City Current passes the ball during the first half of their game against the Utah Royals FC
The Kansas City Current hopes to extend its NWSL unbeaten streak to 13 with a win over Chicago. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

The 13th match weekend is fast approaching in the NWSL, with two season-long unbeaten streaks on the line.

League-leaders Kansas City and Orlando will attempt to survive the weekend with their unbeaten runs intact, as the Current host Chicago on Friday and the Pride travel to North Carolina for Saturday's match.

But while Kansas City and Orlando have been the gold standard this year, they're still a number of wins away from tying Washington's record for longest unbeaten streak in a single NWSL season. In 2021, the Spirit went 20 games without a loss en route to the club's first NWSL championship.

Both Gotham and Louisville are carrying momentum into their matchup on Saturday. Louisville is unbeaten in three games, and they’re looking to finally leapfrog Chicago and claim sixth place in the league standings. Gotham, on a seven-game unbeaten run, is into fifth place.

Portland and Seattle will face off in the Cascadia Clash this weekend, with Golden Boot contender Sophia Smith absent, as the decorated forward was shown a red card last weekend for time-wasting on the bench.

The Reign could use a win against their long-time rivals, as a difficult start has 13th-place Seattle registering only two wins amid nine losses so far this season.

Elsewhere in the league, 2024 expansion teams Bay FC and Utah meet for the first time this weekend, as both look to rise from the bottom half of the standings. And Washington will ride a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game against a San Diego side that's earned two hard-fought draws in recent weeks.

Watch more: "Sophia Smith is INNOCENT!" on The Late Sub with Claire Watkins

WNBA All-Star Voting Starts on June 13th

Phoenix Mercury mascot Scorch waving a 2024 WNBA All-Star flag at a 2023 home game.
Phoenix Mercury will host the 20th-annual All-Star Game on July 20th, 2024. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Voting for the 2024 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game opened at 2 PM ET today and runs through June 29th.

All active WNBA players are eligible to make the All-Star Game, set for July 20th in Phoenix. Unlike previous formats that featured two voted-in All-Star squads, this year’s contest pits a single All-Star team against the already-decided Olympic-bound USA Women’s National Team.

Fans can submit a daily ballot nominating up to 10 athletes via WNBA.com or the WNBA App.

Fan-submitted ballots account for 50% of vote, with the other 50% split equally between current WNBA players and members of the media. The top 10 athletes will automatically make the All-Star Game, with league coaches then voting from a pool of the next 36 to complete Team WNBA’s 12-player roster. The final lineup will be announced on July 2nd.

This year's All-Star Game format presents an opportunity for fans to vote for players they might consider Olympic snubs. Indiana rookie Caitlin Clark and Dallas’s Arike Ogunbawole seem like shoo-ins given the discussion surrounding their Olympic omissions, while Connecticut stars Brionna Jones and DeWanna Bonner are also expected to snag All-Star nods.

And after a career-high 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in last night’s 83-75 loss to the Sun, Chicago rookie Angel Reese could also secure a spot.

Regardless, it won't necessarily be smooth sailing for Team USA, as history has tended to favor the underdog. 

The first USA vs. All-Stars matchup took place in 2021, with the league’s squad humbling the Tokyo Olympians 93-85. With 26 points, Ogunbawole was named All-Star Game MVP after barely missing the Olympic cut. Could she and Clark turn the tables on Team USA this year?

Watch more: "Were Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale snubbed?" by Expert Adjacent

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