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Graphic illustration by Michael Meredith (CBS Sports)

Early on Wednesday night, the Washington Mystics -- who arrived at the arena in shirts that spelled out Jacob Blake's name on the front, and featured seven "bullet holes" on the back -- decided they couldn't play in their game that night. 

A short time later, all three games for Wednesday were postponed, as were the three games scheduled for Thursday. On this occasion, the WNBA players followed in the footsteps of the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA, who held an impromptu strike starting on Wednesday afternoon. 

But for years now, WNBA players have been at the forefront of the social justice movement in sports. Entire teams were kneeling for the national anthem back in 2016, when it wasn't a popular gesture endorsed by the leagues themselves, and the Lynx wore special warm-up shirts that same year calling for justice for victims of police violence, and affirming that Black Lives Matter -- an act they were fined for. 

Two years ago Maya Moore decided to step away from the game in her prime to fight for and win the release of a wrongly imprisoned Missouri man named Jonathan Irons, and earlier this summer the WNBA was the first to propose special messages on jerseys and courts in the bubble. They also formed a social justice council to make sure their efforts don't stop anytime soon.

As a 12-team league that plays a short season in the summer, and receives limited mainstream media attention, these women don't always get the credit they deserve for standing up for what's right, even when the financial stakes are greater for them than many athletes. But regardless of how many people are paying attention, you can count on WNBA players to keep leading the way. 

1. Las Vegas Aces (12-3) -- last week No. 1

Vegas completed the August portion of their schedule with an 11-1 record, and have already clinched a playoff spot. Coming off her Sixth Woman of the Year campaign, Dearica Hamby has arguably been even better this season, and is one of the main reasons the Aces have the best-scoring bench unit in the league at 34 points per game. 

2. Seattle Storm (13-3) -- last week No. 2

Not that there were ever really any concerns about them, but the Storm are back on track. After dispatching the Fever and Sky with ease this week, Seattle now has 10 double-digit wins this season, which is more wins than seven teams have all together. Natasha Howard's resurgence -- six straight games in double figures, including three double-doubles -- is more great news for the Storm. 

3. Los Angeles Sparks (12-3) -- last week No. 3

Los Angeles just keeps cruising along, extending their winning streak to nine games, and improving their record to 12-3 -- good for a tie for second place. The last time they had a winning streak this long was back in 2016, when they actually did it twice. That also just so happens to be the last time they won a title. 

4. Minnesota Lynx (10-5) -- last week No. 5

Crystal Dangerfield continues to make her case for Rookie of the Year. She's now up to 15.5 points and three assists per game -- both second among rookies -- with shooting splits of 45.5/34.2/90. And she's done it all while helping lead the Lynx to the fourth-best record in the league, despite Sylvia Fowles' continued absence. If Dangerfield does win ROY, she'll become the first second-round pick to ever receive the honor. 

5. Chicago Sky (10-6) -- last week No. 4

Really rough week for the Sky. They suffered a surprising loss to the last-place Liberty, got blown out by the Storm and had both Diamond DeShields and Azura Stevens leave the bubble. DeShields left for personal reasons and it's unclear if she'll return, while Stevens is officially out for the season with a knee injury. 

6. Phoenix Mercury (9-7) -- last week No. 7

The hits just keep coming for the Mercury. Already without Brittney Griner, who left the bubble for personal reasons, they'll now be without Bria Hartley for the rest of the season. Hartley, who signed in the offseason, was putting together a career year before going down with a torn ACL against the Mystics. 

7. Connecticut Sun (7-9) -- last week No. 6

The Sun are still somewhat of a mess on the offensive side of the ball, but their defense continues to impress. They're up to fifth in the league with a defensive rating of 99.5, and Briann January's return to the floor has helped solidify things on that end. They still have some work to do to hold on to a playoff spot, however, with only 1.5 games separating them from the ninth-place Fever. 

8. Dallas Wings (6-10) -- last week No. 9

Thanks to a big win over the Fever on Saturday, the Wings have jumped into playoff position, but they still have plenty of work to do to hold on to that spot, especially considering their injury problems. Arike Ogunbowale continues to lead the league in scoring, and is currently on pace to become just the ninth player ever to average at least 22 points per game. 

9. Indiana Fever (5-10) -- last week No. 8

Three straight losses, and just one win in their last six outings has dropped the Fever to 5-10 on the season, and ninth place in the standings. As of now, they'd be out of the playoffs for a fourth straight season. The main problem is their offense, which was one of the best units in the league early on, has fallen off a cliff. Over this six-game stretch, they're scoring just 96.2 points per 100 possessions. 

10. Washington Mystics (4-11) -- last week No. 10

Four losses in a row now for the Mystics, who still have just one win since their 3-0 start. One bright spot is Myisha Hines-Allen, who continues to put together a stellar season. Her 35 points against the Wings are tied for the most points in a game this season, and she's averaging 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds, good for 11th and seventh in the league, respectively. Not bad for someone who played 211 minutes all of last season. 

11. Atlanta Dream (3-13) -- last week No. 11

No. 4 overall pick Chennedy Carter returned to the court after missing nearly three weeks with an ankle injury, and immediately poured in 26 points in her second game back. That's some good news in what has otherwise been another rough season for the Dream. They're still stuck in 11th place at 3-13. 

12. New York Liberty (2-13) -- last week No. 12

The Liberty got their second win of the season in stunning fashion, taking down the Sky in one of the highest-scoring games of the season. It was a rare moment to remember in this disastrous season for New York. Still no further update on Sabrina Ionescu's ankle, but with just a few weeks left in the regular season, it seems unlikely that she'll play again this summer.