Power Rankings at the Break

With the WNBA season over two-thirds complete, and the league taking a month long hiatus for the Olympic Games, we take a look at how each team stands heading into the final month of the season. The last edition of the power rankings was based on a composite of Winning Percentage (WP), Expected Winning Percentage (EWP), and Relative Percentage Index (RPI). This week’s rankings will include the same analysis, in addition to accounting for a team’s performance over the previous two weeks. Just as before, a good baseline to start the rankings is with winning percentage (team’s previous rank is included in parenthesis):

Based upon the table above, the biggest upward movers were Chicago, Phoenix, and Seattle. Each of the teams jumped two spots up in winning percentage rankings. The biggest losers were Washington and Dallas, who fell three spots each. The top five teams remained unchanged.

Now we can begin to formulate the composite rankings, utilizing EWP, RPI, and recent performance. The following rankings will be based upon WP, EWP, and RPI. Following that table will be another that incorporates recent performance, a new addition to the ranking system.

Again, the biggest movers, in a positive direction, were Chicago, Phoenix, and Seattle. Washington lost the most ground as they dropped three spots in the composite rankings.

With the addition of one new measurement, recent performance, the Olympic Break power rankings will be complete. The use of recent performance us important because it can further indicate in which direction a team is trending. The metrics used above account for the season as a whole, so a team that started hot, but has now cooled off benefits more so than a team who has put it all together over the past few weeks. Recent performance will take in to account games played between the period of July 13th through July 22nd. Without further ado, the complete WNBA power rankings.

Recent performance does not cause any movement amongst the top eight teams in the power rankings. A case can be made for Minnesota surpassing Los Angeles, but during this period, Los Angeles was on a five game road trip. So that must be taken into consideration, and as a result Los Angeles holds on to the number one spot in the power rankings. There are two big surprises here, both at the bottom of the table. The first is Connecticut. As a team they do not rank well in WP, EWP, or RPI, but their recent performance may indicate they are turning a corner and starting to put the pieces together. It will be interesting to watch to see if they can keep the momentum going after the Olympic Break. The second surprise is Dallas and Washington. Washington has seen a major slide in their performance over the past few weeks. They were as high as sixth in the previous ranking, but have now fallen to 10th. Likewise, Dallas has not performed well, and have thus suffered a drop in this week’s rankings. Due to recent performance, I cannot justify putting either of those teams, both 0-4 during the period, ahead of Connecticut, who is trending upwards.