WNBA Power Rankings: Liz Cambage sets scoring record in wildest week in league history
Cambage was just one of many players to make history this week
Usually this space is reversed for a more in-depth look at a certain team or player, but given the week that we've just had, it was too hard to pick only one topic to focus on. So let's just run through what an incredible week it was in the WNBA.
The week started out with Liz Cambage setting a new WNBA single-game scoring record by dropping 53 points on the Liberty. She went a remarkable 17 of 22 from the field, and hit 15 of her 16 free-throw attempts.
On the very same day as Cambage breaking the scoring record, the Dream continued their winning streak in style. Tiffany Hayes sunk a buzzer beater from beyond halfcourt to beat the Sun.
The 2018 All-Stars were also announced on the same day as Cambage and Hayes' heroics, with 22 players making the cut to go to Minneapolis. Hayes was one of the notable snubs, so it was fitting that her shot came on the same day.
After her 53-point performance, Cambage followed that up by 35 points and 17 rebounds in the Wings' win over the Mystics. In doing so, she set a new WNBA record for most points in two consecutive games, with 88.
Next up, Courtney Vandersloot dropped 13 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists in the Sky's win over the Wings. It was the first triple-double in Sky franchise history and just the seventh regular season triple-double in league history. She also set the franchise record for assists, and fell just one assist shy of Ticha Penicheiro's league record.
Then on Sunday, Sue Bird etched her name in the record books. By suiting up for the Storm's game against the Dream, Bird set a new WNBA record by becoming the first player to ever play in 500 career games.
Most regular-season games played in WNBA history
Speaking of the Storm-Dream contest, the Dream were victorious, clinching their seventh straight win, which set a new franchise record for longest winning streak.
Lastly, Shekinna Stricklen became the latest player to make history in this wild week when she rained down eight triples on the Wings. In doing so, she tied a WNBA record for 3-pointers in a game.
This week's WNBA power rankings
1. Seattle Storm (18-7) -- No movement
A three-game winning streak for the Storm came to an end on Sunday at the hands of the now second-place Dream. Even so, a comfortable two and a half games separates the Storm from the rest of the pack in first place. Also, shoutout to Sue Bird for becoming the first player in WNBA history to play in 500 career games.
2. Atlanta Dream (15-9) -- Up 2
Well, the Dream just can't stop winning. After Sunday afternoon's convincing 13-point win over the league-leading Storm, the Dream have won a franchise record seven straight games and taken lone control of the No. 2 seed for the time being at 15-9. It's just been a really impressive stretch of basketball from the Dream, and even included a Tiffany Hayes buzzer beater from beyond halfcourt that was one of the best clutch shots in WNBA history.
3. Minnesota Lynx (14-10) -- Up 5
The Lynx are back on a little upswing here after Maya Moore's 38-point effort led them past the Mercury in a bizarre game for their second straight win. And with the Liberty up next, they should go into the All-Star break feeling good about themselves -- especially considering the game is being played in Minneapolis for the first time ever.
4. Los Angeles Sparks (15-10) -- Down 1
Injuries are once again popping up for the Sparks, who were without both Nneka Ogwumike and Alana Beard for the entire week, and suffered an inexplicable defeat to the lowly Fever. But still, even as it's felt like the Sparks have been struggling this season, they're right there in a tie for third-place in the crowded standings.
5. Phoenix Mercury (15-10) -- Down 3
During Saturday night's loss to the Lynx, Diana Taurasi was ejected from the game in one of the strangest ways imaginable: she picked up a second technical foul after hitting a barrel roll, apparently in frustration after a tough call. Anyway, the Mercury have lost their last two games, but are still right there in a tie for third place with the Sparks.
6. Dallas Wings (14-11) -- Down 1
Perhaps no week has better summed up the Wings' up and down season than this one. They won their first two games, making it seven out of their last eight overall, and were riding high after Liz Cambage set a new league single-game scoring record with 53 points. Then they lost by 15 to the Sky, and followed that up by getting crushed by the Sun.
7. Washington Mystics (14-10) -- Down 1
It's been a bit of a rough stretch for the Mystics lately, as they've only beaten one playoff team in the last month. Thankfully for them, they've had enough games against the Liberty and Sky to hang right in the middle of the pack of the playoff race. They are in a way the bizarro Dream, boasting the second-best offense, but also possessing the fourth-worst defense in the league.
8. Connecticut Sun (13-12) -- Down 1
With Alyssa Thomas filling up the stat sheet, Shekinna Stricklen bombing 3s (her eight makes tied a WNBA single-game record) and Jonquel Jones doing good work inside, the Sun finally looked like the team we saw last season and early this campaign in their 17-point thumping of the Wings on Sunday. Now, the question is, can they keep that momentum going?
9. Las Vegas Aces (12-13) -- No movement
After two more wins this week, including one over the Mercury, the Aces have now been victorious in six of their last seven outings. Over the past 10 games, only the Storm and Dream -- the top two teams in the league -- have better records than the Aces. The strong run of form has Vegas just one game out of eighth, and only three games back of third, which is truly remarkable.
10. Chicago Sky (8-17) -- Up 1
The Sky section last week was devoted to Courtney Vandersloot's brilliance, and there's really no reason for that to change after she recorded the franchise's first ever triple-double this week. She put up 13 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists in their win over the Wings, setting a franchise record for assists, and falling just one shy of Ticha Penicheiro's WNBA single-game record of 16. Additionally, it was only the seventh regular season triple-double in league history.
11. Indiana Fever (3-22) -- Up 1
So, the Fever have three wins now this season, and two of them have come against the last two champions, the Sparks and Lynx. Figure that one out. The good news for the Fever is their latest win over the Sparks this week means they need just one more win down the stretch to avoid tying the 2011 Tulsa Shock for the worst record in WNBA history.
12. New York Liberty (7-17) -- Down 2
Well so much for that little two-game winning streak turning the Liberty's season around. They promptly dropped all three of their games this week, giving them their third losing streak of at least three games this season. They only had three such losing streaks in the past three seasons combined.
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