The Chicago Sky enter this week one game out of the final WNBA playoff spot with three games to play.
If Chicago hopes to reach the postseason — albeit with some help — closing out games will be a must.
On Tuesday night, the Sky will face a team that also has struggled in that department when they visit the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis.
The Fever were eliminated from playoff contention Friday but regrouped for Sunday’s overtime victory against the host Dallas Wings.
“I think everything that we’ve been through individually and as a group, we deserve to take this win,” said Kelsey Mitchell, who with teammate NaLyssa Smith, led the Fever with 30 points apiece.
“I think for us, it was about making sure that everyone played well and played together. Going forward, that’s the mentality we’re gonna have.”
Indiana (12-25) and Chicago (15-22) haven’t met since July 2, when Courtney Williams provided the late heroics in the Sky’s 89-87 road win.
Williams finished with 28 points and eight assists while displaying a poise in the clutch that has wavered for the team this season. Her game-winning jumper with 18.1 seconds to go helped the Sky fend off the Fever, who had rallied from a six-point, fourth-quarter deficit to tie the game on Smith’s trey with 1:07 to go.
A closing kick eluded Chicago in Sunday’s home loss to the New York Liberty. After taking a 61-60 lead on Sika Kone’s basket with 8:35 left, the Sky were outscored 26-8 the rest of the way.
“We couldn’t execute this game,” Sky interim coach/general manager Emre Vatansever said. “They really turned it up and we just couldn’t respond to it. We should have, but we couldn’t.”
Kahleah Copper (23 points) and Marina Mabrey (12) led the Chicago attack, but it wasn’t enough as the team fell one game behind the Los Angeles Sparks for the league’s eighth and final playoff spot.
The Sky hold the tiebreaker over the Sparks after winning three of the teams’ four meetings during the regular season.
–Field Level Media