WNBA Power Rankings: Aces at No. 1 ahead of opening night

No WNBA team has won three titles in a row since the defunct Houston Comets won the first four in league -history.

When they beat the Liberty in 2000 for title No. 4, a familiar face on that Liberty team was Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon.

In the 24 years since, only two franchises have come close to the Comets’ run. Last year, the Aces became the first team to win back-to-back titles since the 2001-02 Sparks. This year, they will look to make more history.

Candace Parker may have retired, but coach Becky Hammon has her core four back — A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young. On their heels are the Liberty and the resurgent Storm.

After losing to the Aces in the WNBA Finals, the Liberty return their entire core, including two-time MVP Breanna Stewart, 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones and former Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot.

The Storm added six-time All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith and 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike.

The Sun could prove to be the Aces’ biggest threat.

Two-time All-Star Brionna Jones will make her comeback after sitting out last season with a ruptured right Achilles alongside 2023 MVP runner-up Alyssa Thomas and five-time All-Star DeWanna Bonner. Reigning Coach of the Year Stephanie White led them to a 27-13 record in her first year at the helm.

The Sky, who narrowly beat out the Sparks for the final playoff spot last season, face an even tougher road to the postseason. Three of the four teams that failed to make the playoffs last year — the Storm, Fever and Mercury — got better.

The Sky, meanwhile, are an unproven product with an entirely new coaching staff and roster.

If they don’t make the playoffs, they’ll send a lottery pick to the Wings as the result of former coach/general manager James Wade’s trade for guard Marina Mabrey.

Here are the Sun-Times 2024 power rankings ahead of Week 1:

  • 1. Las Vegas Aces
  • 2. New York Liberty
  • 3. Seattle Storm
  • 4. Connecticut Sun
  • 5. Dallas Wings
  • 6. Phoenix Mercury
  • 7. Atlanta Dream
  • 8. Indiana Fever
  • 9. Minnesota Lynx
  • 10. Los Angeles Sparks
  • 11. Chicago Sky
  • 12. Washington Mystics

MVP: A’ja Wilson

Rookie of the Year: Caitlin Clark

2024 WNBA Champions: New York Liberty

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