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2023 WNBA Power Rankings: Week 1


From Brittney Griner’s emotional return to the court to record-setting performances by Las Vegas and Breanna Stewart and impressive first impressions from rookies Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke, the 2023 WNBA season is off to a strong start after just one weekend of action.

With only nine games played, most of the league has only played once, while four teams have played twice. With such a small sample size to work with, this week’s power rankings will consider the first action of the season as well as the on-paper starting point from our preseason rankings.

Rankings and stats through games played on Sunday, May 21

  1. Las Vegas Aces (1-0)

  • Previous Ranking: 1
  • Last Week: (1-0) W at SEA 105-64
  • This Week: Thursday at LAS, Saturday vs. LAS, Sunday vs. MIN
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 118.0 (1), DefRtg: 72.7 (1), NetRtg: 45.3 (1), eFG%: 62.3 (1), Pace/40 Min: 88.50 (T-1)

It’s hard to find a way to have a better opening to a title defense than what the Aces displayed on Saturday as they set the record for the largest margin of victory in a season opener with a 105-64 win over Seattle. It will take a couple of games to get used to seeing Candace Parker in an Aces jersey, but she fit in rather seamlessly next to A’ja Wilson on the frontline, while Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young led the way with 23 points apiece.

2. Washington Mystics (1-1)

  • Previous Ranking: 3
  • Last Week: (1-1) W vs. NYL 80-64, L at CON 80-74
  • This Week: Tuesday vs. CON, Friday at CHI
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 92.2 (6), DefRtg: 86.2 (4), NetRtg: 6.0 (6), eFG%: 45.7 (T-5), Pace/40 Min: 83.50 (5)

Washington opened the season by spoiling the debut of the new-look Liberty, holding them to just 64 points in an 80-64 win in the head coaching debut of Eric Thibault. However, the Mystics were unable to pick up their first road win as they fell to the Sun in Connecticut on Sunday 80-74 in a game that saw double-doubles for both Elena Delle Donne (19 points, 11 rebounds) and second-year center Shakira Austin (career-high 21 points, 11 rebounds).

3. New York Liberty (1-1) 

  • Previous Ranking: 2
  • Last Week: (1-1) L at WAS 80-64, W vs. IND 90-73
  • This Week: Saturday vs. CON
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 94.5 (5), DefRtg: 92.2 (7), NetRtg: 2.3 (7), eFG%: 49.3 (2), Pace/40 Min: 82.25 (7)

It took only two games for Breanna Stewart to make some history in a New York Liberty jersey. On Sunday, the reigning scoring champion posted a career-high and franchise-record 45 points – and she only needed three quarters to do it – in New York’s 90-73 win over Indiana at Barclays Center. In her first game in front of her new home crowd, Stewart tied for the seventh-highest-scoring game in league history. What will she do for a follow-up?

4. Connecticut Sun (2-0)

  • Previous Ranking: 4
  • Last Week: (2-0) W at IND 70-61, W vs. WAS 80-74
  • This Week: Tuesday at WAS, Saturday at NYL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 89.8 (7), DefRtg: 81.3 (2), NetRtg: 8.5 (5), eFG%: 37.7 (11), Pace/40 Min: 83.25 (6)

Much of the talk surrounding Connecticut this offseason was about who they lost in former MVP Jonquel Jones going to New York, head coach Curt Miller, and point guard Jasmine Thomas going to Los Angeles. But this team still has Alyssa Thomas (two double-doubles to open the season), DeWanna Bonner (20 ppg through two games), and Brionna Jones (double-double in win over Washington) ready to keep the Sun pushing for another 20-plus win season.

  1. Los Angeles Sparks (1-0) 

  • Previous Ranking: 8
  • Last Week: (1-0) W vs. PHX 94-71
  • This Week: Thursday vs. LVA, Saturday at LVA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 114.6 (2), DefRtg: 88.8 (6), NetRtg: 25.9 (2), eFG%: 45.9 (4), Pace/40 Min: 81.00 (9)

In the marquee game of opening night – Brittney Griner’s long-awaited return to the WNBA – the Sparks put on a show as they defeated the Mercury 94-71 in Los Angeles. The Ogwumike sisters – Nneka with 17 points and Chiney with 15 – led the way for the Sparks, but it was rookie Zia Cooke who had the most impressive performance as she came off the bench for 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting (2-of-2 on 3s) as the Sparks opened up a commanding lead.

  1. Chicago Sky (2-0)

  • Previous Ranking: 10
  • Last Week (2-0) W at MIN 77-66, W at PHX 75-69
  • This Week: Friday vs. WAS, Sunday vs. DAL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 95.0 (4), DefRtg: 85.4 (3), NetRtg: 9.6 (3), eFG%: 46.8 (3), Pace/40 Min: 79.50 (11)

Similar to Connecticut, the talk surrounding the Sky was too focused on the players they lost (Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Azura Stevens, Emma Meesseman, Allie Quigley) rather than the players they retained and brought in to reload following last year’s run to the Semi-Finals. After scoring 20 in Chicago’s season-opening win over Minnesota, Kahleah Copper led four Sky players in double figures with 15 points to help the Sky spoil the home debut of Griner in Phoenix.

  1. Dallas Wings (1-0) 

  • Previous Ranking: 5
  • Last Week: (1-0) W vs. ATL 85-78
  • This Week: Friday at SEA, Sunday at CHI
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 97.7 (3), DefRtg: 88.6 (5), NetRtg: 9.1 (4), eFG%: 42.6 (7), Pace/40 Min: 87.50 (T-3)

Dallas opened the season with an 85-78 win over Atlanta that saw three Wings score 20-plus points in the same game. Arike Ogunbowale led the way with 27 points, Satou Sabally added 25 points and seven boards, and newcomer Natasha Howard posted a 20-10 double-double in her Dallas debut. But it wasn’t just offense coming from that trio, as they combined for eight steals (three each for Howard and Ogunbowale) and four blocks (two each for Howard and Sabally).


  1. Phoenix Mercury (0-2)

  • Previous Ranking: 6
  • Last Week: (0-2) L at LAS 94-71, L vs. CHI 75-69
  • This Week: Thursday vs. MIN
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 87.5 (9), DefRtg: 104.3 (11), NetRtg: -16.8 (10), eFG%: 45.7 (T-5), Pace/40 Min: 80.50 (10)

Griner played her first WNBA game in nearly 600 days on Friday and followed it up two days later with her first game in Phoenix since Oct. 13, 2021. While the results of both games were losses, her presence back on the court was a victory for the game. After posting 18 points, six rebounds, and four blocks in her season debut against the Sparks, Griner finished with 27 points, ten rebounds, and four blocks in Sunday’s 75-69 loss to the Sky.

  1. Minnesota Lynx (0-1)

  • Previous Ranking: 7
  • Last Week: (0-1) L vs. CHI 77-66
  • This Week: Tuesday vs. ATL, Thursday at PHO, Sunday at LVA
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 84.6 (10), DefRtg: 96.3 (8), NetRtg: 11.6 (9), eFG%: 38.1 (10), Pace/40 Min: 79.00 (12)

In their season debut, the Lynx were doomed by a second quarter they hope to never see again in their lives, being held to just three points on 1-of-15 shooting as the Sky won the quarter 22-3 and held on to win the game 77-66. Napheesa Collier led the Lynx with 17 points, while No. 2 pick Diamond Miller finished with nine points and seven rebounds in her WNBA debut.

  1. Atlanta Dream (0-1)

  • Previous Ranking: 9
  • Last Week: L at DAL 85-78
  • This Week: Tuesday at MIN, Sunday vs. IND
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 88.6 (8), DefRtg: 97.7 (9), NetRtg: -9.1 (8), eFG%: 40.9 (8), Pace/40 Min: 87.50 (T-3)

Atlanta dropped its season opener to Dallas on Saturday as the Dream struggled to knock down shots, shooting 35.4% from the field and 28.1% from 3-point range. Rhyne Howard scored a team-high 24 points in the first game of her second WNBA season but needed 24 shots to get those points. Cheyenne Parker posted a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds) but had a team-high six of Atlanta’s 19 turnovers. Key offseason acquisition Allisha Gray finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in her Dream debut but shot just 4-of-14 from the field and missed all five of her 3-point attempts.

  1. Seattle Storm (0-1)

  • Previous Ranking: 11
  • Last Week: (0-1) L vs. LVA 105-64
  • This Week: Friday vs. DAL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 72.7 (12), DefRtg: 118.0 (12), NetRtg: -45.3 (12), eFG%: 35.3 (12), Pace/40 Min: 88.50 (T-1)

The Storm were on the wrong end of the largest margin of victory in a season debut as they fell to the Aces by 41 points. Seattle struggled to knock down shots all game long against the defending champs, finishing at 32.1% from the field and 23.8% (5-of-21) from 3-point range. Jewell Loyd – the only member of Seattle’s championship big three still with the Storm – was Seattle’s only double-digit scorer at 22 points but shot just 7-of-25 and missed her first eight shots of the game. Rookie Jordan Horston, who finished with eight points off the bench in her WNBA debut, was Seattle’s second-leading scorer.

  1. Indiana Fever (0-2)

  • Previous Ranking: 12
  • Last Week: L vs. CON 70-61, L at NYL 90-73
  • This Week: Saturday at ATL
  • Team Stats: OffRtg: 81.2 (11), DefRtg: 98.2 (10), NetRtg: x-16.9 (11) , eFG%: 38.5 (9), Pace/40 Min: 82.00 (8)

After closing last season on an 18-game losing streak, that run extended to 20 in a row as the Fever opened the season with losses to Connecticut and New York. The 20-game losing streak matches the 2011 Tulsa Shock for the longest losing streak in WNBA history. The Fever will look to avoid holding that record alone when they face Atlanta on Saturday. Despite the losses to open the season, the Fever have to be pleased with what they’ve seen so far from No. 1 pick Aliyah Boston, who posted a pair of 15-point games in her first WNBA action over the weekend while facing some strong competition against the Sun (Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones) and New York (Jonquel Jones and Breanna Stewart).

Longtime WNBA reporter Brian Martin writes articles on throughout the season. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the WNBA or its clubs. 

Brian Martin

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