WNBA Power Rankings: Dallas Wings fire coach after reported postgame altercation with team CEO
Dallas coach Fred Williams and team CEO Gregg Bibb had to be restrained by outside the lockerroom Sunday.
OK, originally this was going to be about the Atlanta Dream and how they would move on from the season-ending injury to Angel McCoughtry, their lone All-Star and best player. But honestly, the Dream have looked fine so far, winning all three games without her, and are likely to still get a top-two seed and a bye into the semifinals.
Instead, let's talk about the Dallas Wings, because wow, what a mess. In the short WNBA season things can change wicked fast, and this Wings team is a prime example. Just a month ago they were flying high, having won seven of eight games to move to 14-9 on the season. Liz Cambage had set a new WNBA scoring record with 53 points, and with no clear-cut favorite they looked capable of making a deep playoff run.
They haven't won since.
Eight straight losses have sent them tumbling down the standings, where they're hanging onto the eighth and final playoff spot by just a thread. Oh, and they just fired their coach, Fred Williams, after he and team exec Gregg Bibb reportedly got into an altercation outside of the visitors lockerroom in D.C. on Sunday. Following the Wings' 93-80 loss to the Mystics, their eighth consecutive defeat, "Williams and Bibb had to be restrained by other Wings staffers, and Williams was screaming obscenities," HighPostHoops.com reported.
With three games to play for each team, the Wings still hold a one-game lead over the Aces and own the tiebreaker between the two teams, so they do have the upper hand. Still, this is by no means over considering the two teams play each other once more, and the Wings also have road games with the Sun and Storm left.
Taj McWilliams-Franklin is going to have her work cut out for her to turn this thing around quickly. Because assuming they still make the playoffs, it's going to be a quick turnaround with a single-elimination game staring them in the face.
On another note, it would be a mistake not to acknowledge the announcement that Lindsay Whalen is set to retire at the end of this season. Most assumed it was coming once she decided to become coach at the University of Minnesota, but now it is official. This is the last run for one of the greatest point guards the league has ever seen. There will be time in the future to look back on her remarkable career with the Connecticut Sun and Minnesota Lynx, the latter of whom she's led to four championships, but for now, let's just enjoy however many games a true legend has left.
1. Seattle Storm (24-8) -- No movement
It was a busy week for the Storm, but another successful one, as they went 3-1 to move to 24-8 on the season. Already owning the second-best record in franchise history, Seattle's magic number for clinching the No. 1 seed is just one. That means just one Storm win or one Dream loss gets the Storm a bye to the semi-finals and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.
2. Atlanta Dream (22-10) -- No movement
Angel McCoughtry is unfortunately out for the season, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the Dream's last three outings. They've now won six in a row, including the last three without their All-Star and leading second-leading scorer. Which shows they're still going to be a problem heading into the playoffs -- especially with their stout defense.
3. Washington Mystics (20-11) -- Up 1
Well, well, well, look at the Mystics. After hitting a rough patch in the middle of July, Washington has bounced back with six straight wins to jump up into third place. Yes, one of those wins came by forfeit, but they also crushed the league-leading Storm by 23 on Thursday. This Mystics team just might be peaking at the perfect time.
4. Connecticut Sun (18-13) -- Up 1
The Sun are still mostly back, having won six of their last seven games. But they did have a slip-up this week against the Sky, which led to some drama on the sidelines. The Sky's blatant pursuit of the single-game assist record in a blowout led to Sun coach Curt Miller fuming about the "bush league" tactics.
5. Phoenix Mercury (18-14) -- Up 1
The Mercury have won consecutive games for the first time since late June, which is a good, obviously, and with the standings still quite jumbled, they're still in right there with a chance to snag a top-four seed. On the whole, they've still struggled without Sancho Lyttle, but Sunday's big win over the Sparks was an encouraging sign.
6. Los Angeles Sparks (18-13) -- Down 3
For the first time since the WNBA went to their new playoff format, the Sparks will be forced to play a single-elimination game. Now, the only question is, will it be one or two? Due to their current two-game skid, which included a loss to the Dream on Thursday, the Sparks cannot catch Atlanta for the No. 2 seed. But there's still plenty to play for, as Candace Parker and Co. will want to avoid having to play two single-elimination games just to make the semi-finals.
7. Minnesota Lynx (17-14) -- No movement
They're still the Lynx, and they still have Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles, but the signs are not good. They've beaten just one playoff team since the early July, and the injury list is growing, with Danielle Robinson now looking unlikely to be ready for the postseason. Against the top teams -- such as on Sunday against the Storm -- they just look a bit overmatched.
8. Dallas Wings (14-17) -- No movement
Welp! (See above)
9. Las Vegas Aces (13-18) -- No movement
Thanks to the Wings' absolute collapse over the last few weeks, the Aces are still alive in the playoff race. They're one game back of the Wings with three games to play, including a matchup Friday between the teams in Dallas. If the Aces can win that game, they really might have a chance of pulling this thing off considering the Wings' tough remaining schedule.
10. Chicago Sky (11-20) -- No movement
The Sky became the third team eliminated from playoff contention with their loss to the Sun on Sunday. It's honestly surprising and a bit impressive they nearly made it to the final week before being officially eliminated, but that won't matter much to the team. Also, Courtney Vandersloot is still on pace to set single-season records for both assists per game and total assists.
11. Indiana Fever (5-26) -- No movement
The Fever are pretty much just running out the clock here on another rough season. It's been nice to see Kelsey Mitchell's efficiency start to improve a bit here lately after a brutal July. She still hasn't been as good as she was early in the season, but things are at least moving in the right direction. Tiffany Mitchell has had some encouraging games lately as well.
12. New York Liberty (7-23) -- No movement
The Liberty ended last season on a 10-game winning streak, and now they're in danger of doing the opposite to close out this campaign. They've lost nine in a row, with even Tina Charles' brilliance unable to lift them out of this rut.
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