|Sky, Fever wrap up season with home-and-home|
There is just one spot left to be filled for the WNBA playoffs as the regular season heads to its final weekend, and Indiana and Chicago will not be in the discussion for that position when the teams square off Saturday for the first game of a season-ending, home-and-home doubleheader at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The Fever and Sky, who have both been long ago eliminated from the postseason, will wrap up the year on Sunday at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Both teams hope the final two games of the year are more than just playing out the string. But both are also realistic about how disappointing their respective seasons have become down the stretch, when they've been playing for little but pride.
The Fever (5-27) are in search of their sixth win of the year after falling 74-62 to the Washington Mystics on the road Wednesday. Indiana was paced by Natalie Achonwa's 15 points in the loss and Candice Dupree's eight points helped her become the ninth player in WNBA history to eclipse 6,000 career points.
Dupree is just three points shy passing Lauren Jackson (6,007) as the eighth-leading scorer in league annals.
Indiana entered the fourth quarter with a 60-58 lead before the Washington defense shut down the Fever, holding them to two points in the final 10 minutes. The two-point quarter is tied for the lowest-scoring quarter in Fever history and tied for second-lowest scoring fourth quarter in WNBA history.
"Despite the first five and a half minutes and poor defense start, 76 points to a team that averages 85-86 should be enough," Fever coach Pokey Chatman said of the loss to Washington. "But the offensive futility in the fourth quarter and settling for shots that aren't our best shots, 3-pointers, did us in."
Chicago (12-20) heads into its final two games off a win over defending league champion Minnesota 91-88 at home on Tuesday.
Rookie forward Diamond DeShields was in constant attack mode for the Sky in that victory, scoring 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field.
"We still have two games to play," DeShields said after the win over Minnesota. "I'm like, let's just go out there and have fun. You know we have something to prove still. We're a good team and were able to compete still and that's just what we wanted to do tonight."
Point guard Courtney Vandersloot contributed 10 assists and breaking the league record for assists in a season (241).
"I mean it's pretty nice," Vandersloot said of breaking the assists record. "It was tough, but when it comes down to it, it's my teammates making shots. I get a lot of assists off them just making an open jumper."
Indiana has beaten Chicago in 18 of 25 meetings in Indianapolis, though the Sky have won two straight games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, including an Aug. 4 decision in late 2017.
A Chicago win would mark only the second time the Sky have ever won two road games in the I-65 series in the same season (Chicago swept a four-game series in 2015).