WNBA Strength Rankings: Kahleah Copper leads sky-high; Aces outlast the sun in the lead

As a consequence of abroad commitments along with her Spanish crew, CB Avenida, Kahleah Copper missed the primary two weeks of the WNBA season. With out the MVP award within the Finals, the Chicago Sky crew spun off early within the sport with a 2-2 rating.

Lastly, after including extra tools to her repertoire by main Avenida to the La Liga Championship and successful the MVP award within the course of, Cooper is again within the States. It was an event for the primary time on Could 22, when Sky defeated the Washington Mystics, who on the time have been second within the league with just one loss.

Whereas it took Cooper a while to cool down, her affect on the crew was evident from that first match. Now that I’ve discovered a rhythm, the sky is beginning to take off. They’ve received three straight video games for the longest successful streak of the season, and are 5-1 total with Cooper within the lineup. With this race, they climbed to 3rd place within the standings, leaving solely two video games from first place.

Throughout this successful streak, Cooper averaged 15.7 factors and 7 rebounds on 48.6 p.c of photographs, and the sky is over 17.4 factors for each 100 possessions along with her on the bottom. Her athletic skill on the wing offers the crew a little bit of the dynamism they lack, and makes an enormous distinction on either side of the ball.

If her work on the sphere wasn’t sufficient, she’s additionally been serving because the crew’s technical help throughout highway journeys:

Every thing is best for heaven when copper is true across the nook.

1. Las Vegas Aces (10-2) – Final Week No. 1

Dangerous information for the Aces: Their seven-game successful streak lastly got here to an finish once they misplaced their second sport in a row to the Solar, and Jackie Younger was out indefinitely with a sprained ankle. Excellent news for the Aces: they bounced again from that loss at right-backs to beat the wingers and turn into the primary crew to attain 10 wins and keep within the prime spot and nonetheless have the perfect assault within the league (109.6 factors per 100 possessions).

2. Connecticut Solar (9-3) – Final Week No. 2

What per week for the Solar, who needed to play 4 video games in six days on a West Coast highway journey, together with two in opposition to the Aces and one in opposition to the Storm. They went 3-1 in these competitions in one more reminder that they’re within the prime division this season. Jonquil Jones, who went by way of a little bit of an odd stretch the place you barely received the ball up entrance, was nice to shut out the run. She’s scored 23 factors, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and two steals in taking pictures 67.6 p.c over her final three video games, which have been all wins.

3. Chicago Sky (7-3) – Final week No. 5

Come right here heaven. We have been ready for this crew to do a run all season, and it is lastly occurring. They’ve gone 3-0 this week, and now have received 5 of their final six video games, and are in third place with a 7-3 rating. Kahleah Copper, whose rhythm had been found after getting back from overseas, had given it an unsurprisingly sturdy increase; It averaged 15.7 factors and 7 rebounds on a 48.6 p.c payout this week.

4. Atlanta Dream (7-4) – Final Week No. 6

Though they have been unable to finish a grand comeback in entrance of the Ascendant Sky, this was one other constructive week for a dream. Protection continues to be the primary story. Even once they lose, they make the opposite crew’s life depressing. Their astonishing defensive score of 89.4 is the perfect within the league by practically 5 factors, and so they maintain their opponents 38 p.c in taking pictures from the sphere. This week can be an enormous check, as they head west for the primary two video games of a four-game highway journey.

5. Washington Mystics (7-5) – Final Week #3

A disappointing week for the Mystics, as humble Liberty outplayed them and could not maintain their very own with Sky. After an exciting 5-1 begin, the Mystics have now misplaced 4 of their final six video games. Whereas the sporadic absences of Elena Delle Donne clearly assist, the offense hasn’t been round recently. They shoot 42 p.c of the sphere and rating simply 97.2 factors per 100 possessions throughout this faint.

6. Seattle Storm (5-5) – Final Week No. 4

After a brutal string of accidents and a scarcity of well being and security protocol, the Storm crew lastly received a full roster collectively for the primary time all season on Sunday. That wasn’t sufficient, as they collapsed within the fourth quarter in opposition to the Solar to lose their second sport in a row and drop to 0.500. Now that they have everybody again, it is going to be attention-grabbing to see if they will get some constant manufacturing from another person in addition to Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd. These two numbers are averaging 48.9% of Storm factors per sport this season.

7. Dallas Wings (6-5) – Final Week No. 7

A really traditional “Younger Workforce” week for the Wings, who cornered the loss to Sparks and the Aces round a snug 17-point win over the Storm. There may be quite a lot of expertise on this crew, however not sufficient consistency but. Forward of one other robust week that features two matches in opposition to the Storm, it’s attention-grabbing to notice that they’ve switched to the little ball model and at the moment are beginning with Sato Sabali within the middle.

8. Phoenix Mercury (3-8) – Final Week No. 10

Mercury lastly ended his seven-game shedding streak with a win over Sparks on Sunday, and he was a bit unfortunate as he did not break quickly after taking part in nicely within the loss to Sky & Solar earlier within the week. Whereas this was nonetheless one other week of shedding, this was by far probably the most encouraging streak of play to date – particularly on the defensive finish, the place it was an entire catastrophe to begin the season.

9. Los Angeles Sparks (5-7) – Final Week No. 8

Sparks stayed on the observe this week, successful on the wings earlier than shedding to Mercury. They proceed to guide the group of groups chasing the No. 8 seed, however that does not imply a lot. Whereas the unofficial strikes to enhance the assault are beginning to repay, the unfavorable results on protection are being felt in an enormous approach. Having been one of many prime defensive groups within the league final season, Sparks is final this time, permitting 107.5 factors per 100 possessions.

10. Minnesota Linux (3-8) – Final Week No. 11

I did not really feel like we discovered a lot about Lynx this week as they misplaced to Dream after which beat Liberty on the East Coast highway journey. Kayla McBride’s return has helped stabilize issues, and he or she’s turn into extra aggressive since her return to the squad. It is nonetheless onerous to inform what you are getting from night time to nighttime from anybody on this crew in addition to McBride and Sylvia Fowls, and the roster’s continued being a revolving door does not assist.

11. New York Liberty (3-8) – Final Week No. 12

When Workforce Liberty introduced that Betnijah Laney can be out at the least eight weeks after present process meniscus surgical procedure, it regarded just like the crew’s season was going from unhealthy to worse. As an alternative, they stepped up and confirmed some nice resilience to win back-to-back video games for the primary time all season. The introduction of Crystal Dangerfield within the beginning line-up helped Liberty minimize the variety of matches and took some stress off Sabrina Ionescu, who has been very good of late.

12. Indiana Fever (3-10) – Final Week No. 9

Fever’s new coach’s rebound did not final lengthy, as they have been again on their shedding methods. After three straight losses this week, they’ve now misplaced eight of their final 9 matches to drop to backside of the standings. Certainly one of Fever’s few vibrant spots in the intervening time is Kelsey Mitchell, who’s third within the league in scoring. 19.5 factors and three.8 assists per sport are each profession highs, as is the 41.9 p.c mark from her 3-point floor.