Mike Meredith/CBS Sports

A few weeks ago, the Dallas Wings were on the ropes. They had lost 13 of 19 games to fall out of the playoff picture, were dealing with a string of injuries and had a difficult schedule down the stretch. There was a real chance they would miss out on the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. 

Since then they are 6-1 with wins over the Chicago Sky and Las Vegas Aces, have won five straight games to boast the longest active winning streak in the league, sit all alone in sixth place at 17-16 and have clinched a playoff spot for the second consecutive season. 

So how did such a turnaround happen? Well, it certainly helped to have two games against the last-place Indiana Fever, an all-time bad team, in that stretch. But that wasn't the only factor in the Wings' turnaround. They owe much of their recent success to their only major offseason acquisition: Teaira McCowan. 

The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week barely played when she first got to Dallas, and through the first few months of the season there was real confusion about why the team traded for her if she wasn't going to play. Her lack of playing time early on is even more inexplicable after the way McCowan has performed in recent weeks. 

McCowan has double-doubles in five of her last six games, and during this 6-1 stretch is putting up 18.9 points and 11.9 rebounds on 62.5 percent shooting from the field. Over that period she is tied for seventh in the league in scoring, first in rebounding and first in field goal percentage among players taking at least five shots per game. She also hit the game-winning layup in the closing seconds of their massive upset win over the Aces. 

Here are this week's WNBA Power Rankings.

1. Chicago Sky (25-8) -- Last week No. 1

Two straight wins over the Mercury and Sun was an impressive way to close the week for the Sky, who have clinched at least a top-two seed. They still have to play the Storm and the Aces this week, so their work is far from done, but they are closing in on securing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Candace Parker also made history by becoming the fifth player to reach 600 career blocks. She is now the only player in the 6,000-point, 3,000-rebound, 1,500-assist, 600-block club. 

2. Las Vegas Aces (23-10) -- Last week No. 2

After two straight disappointing losses to the Mystics and Wings, the Aces had their hands full on Sunday as they took on the Storm in a raucous environment in Seattle. They left with a win thanks to another brilliant performance from A'ja Wilson, and as a result are still in the hunt for the No. 1 seed. It was interesting to note that head coach Becky Hammon said Kiah Stokes will be replacing Dearica Hamby in the starting lineup moving forward. 

3. Connecticut Sun (22-11) -- Last week No. 3

As great as the Sun have been for much of the season, they just haven't been able to win the big games when it mattered. That trend continued on Sunday as they lost a heartbreaker to the Sky and were eliminated from contention for the No. 1 seed; for the season they went 0-4 against the Sky and 1-2 against the Aces. They're going to have to beat at least one of those teams in the playoffs if they want to win a title. 

4. Seattle Storm (20-13) -- Last week No. 4

Sue Bird's final regular-season home game in Seattle was somewhat spoiled by the fact that the Storm couldn't ever get over the hump and lost to the Aces. The good news is they've gotten some help from the Mystics, and remain all alone in fourth place with the tiebreaker between the two clubs. Despite a tough schedule to close out the season, they still have the upper hand to finish fourth and secure home-court advantage in the first round. 

5. Washington Mystics (20-14) -- Last week No. 5

This was a bad week for the Mystics, as they lost two in a row to the Sky and Sparks and were unable to take advantage of the Storm's slip-up. The defeat against the Sparks was especially frustrating for Natasha Cloud, who felt she was fouled on a potential game-tying 3-pointer and called the referees "trash" on Twitter. Replays show the officials made the right call, as the contact came after the final buzzer. With just two games remaining -- both against the lowly Fever -- the Mystics are still in the hunt for fourth but will now need some help. 

6. Dallas Wings (17-16) -- Last week No. 6

The Wings continued their late-season surge on Monday by beating the Liberty to earn their fifth straight win and clinch a playoff spot for the second consecutive season. This is a completely different team from the one we saw in the middle of the season, and they have Teaira McCowan to thank. The 6-foot-7 center is playing the best basketball of her career during their recent hot streak, and has given the team the elite interior presence they had been missing since Liz Cambage left. 

7. Atlanta Dream (14-19) -- Last week No. 11

Despite a loss to the Lynx on Sunday, this was still a successful week for the Dream as they picked up two big wins to move into seventh place. Rhyne Howard had one of her best games of the season in their last-second win over the Sparks and has all but locked up Rookie of the Year. A game against the Aces and two against the Liberty leaves the Dream with some work to do, but they control their own destiny for a playoff spot. 

8. Minnesota Lynx (13-20) -- Last week No. 8

The vibes are terrific in Minneapolis these days as the Lynx continue their late-season playoff push. They've now won three of their last four games to move within a game of both the Dream and Mercury, and have the tiebreaker against both clubs. They still have their work cut out for them and will need some help, but they have a real chance, especially now that Napheesa Collier is back in action after returning from maternity leave in their win over the Dream. 

9. Phoenix Mercury (14-19) -- Last week No. 7

After a brutal East Coast road trip and the disheartening news that Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in Russian prison on drug charges, the Mercury finally returned home over the weekend. Once back in Phoenix, they got a much-needed win over the Liberty despite playing without Skylar Diggins-Smith (non-COVID illness) and Diana Taurasi (quad). Now all alone in eighth place, they control their destiny for a playoff spot. 

10. New York Liberty (13-20) -- Last week No. 9

Inconsistency has been the story of the Liberty's season, so it's little surprise that they would follow up a clutch three-game winning streak with a frustrating two-game skid. Now in 10th place after losing to the Wings on Monday despite a season-high 32 points from Sabrina Ionescu, their playoff hopes are waning. They do still have a chance, however, as their final two games of the season are against the seventh-place Dream. If they can manage to win both of them, they could just sneak into the postseason. 

11. Los Angeles Sparks (13-20) -- Last week No. 10

The Sparks picked up a dramatic and surprising win over the Mystics on Sunday to end their six-game losing streak and keep their faint playoff hopes alive, but they weren't able to celebrate for long due to a major travel fiasco. Due to a flight cancellation and a lack of hotel rooms in the Washington, D.C. area, half of the team was forced to spend the night in the airport. That was the last thing the Sparks needed ahead of two difficult games against the Sun this week. 

12. Indiana Fever (5-29) -- Last week No. 12

Not even a 20-point lead was enough for the Fever to finally get a win. After their collapse and overtime defeat to the Wings late last week, the Fever have lost 16 games in a row, which is the longest losing streak in franchise history and third longest in WNBA history. The good news is they only have two games left, so even if they lose out they won't be able to match the Tulsa Shock's all-time worst 20-game losing streak.