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The Sky came within three but never led the Mystics after the first quarter. This loss puts the team back at .500 (15-15) on the season.
The Mystics came into Wintrust Arena Sunday still fighting for a playoff spot while the Sky are fighting to hold on to the No. 6 seed.
As coach and general manager James Wade critically pointed out after the team’s 79-71 loss to the Mystics Sunday, they can’t move up in the standings but they can certainly move down.
“Nobody looks at our team and thinks ‘Oh, I want to be like the Sky,'” Wade said.
Coming off an important, playoff-clinching win against the Las Vegas Aces last week, Sunday’s game should have been a tuneup for the Sky. Instead, they went down early to the Mystics after allowing them to go on an 11-0 run to end the first quarter and spent the rest of the game fighting their way back.
Turnovers, poor shooting and defending the three-point line were all points of issue Sunday. The Sky came within three but never led the Mystics after the first quarter. This loss puts the team back at .500 (15-15) on the season.
Wade expressed extreme displeasure with the starting five as energy was once again an issue for the Sky. He combatted that by switching things up with eight minutes left in the third quarter putting Dana Evans, Lexie Brown, Diamond DeShields, Ruthy Hebard and Stefanie Dolson on the court together.
His only regret was not leaving them on the floor. Evans finished with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting but only played eight minutes.
“We didn’t have many players that showed up tonight,” Wade said. “The bench came in and gave us a boost. They earned the right to finish it off and I should have stayed with them.”
Kahleah Copper was a nonfactor Sunday afternoon with three points. Candace Parker, Allie Quigley and Azura Stevens all finished scoring in double figures. The Sky made their first three of the game in the third quarter and finished the game shooting 13.6% from behind the arc.
Last time these two teams faced each other Tina Charles went off for 34 points and 17 rebounds. She sent the game to overtime and an eventual win grabbing a late rebound for a putback at the end of regulation. Wade said ahead of the game his team had to beat her to spots, crowd her space and take away her rhythm. They didn’t do any of that.
“Taking away some of her patent moves [was an issue],” Stevens said. “Clogging up her space more. We’ve seen other teams do that and they were successful. We could have done a better job at that.”
Charles had 31 points and 10 rebounds Sunday and shot 50% from three.
The race for the the No. 8 seed is tight between the Mystics, Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty. While the Sky have clinched a playoff spot, if the Wings win their final two games of the season and the Sky lose theirs it would put them in a two-way tie. The tiebreaking procedure would put the team with the better record in head-to-head matchups at the No. 6 seed, which is Dallas.
The Sky close out the regular season at home against the Aces and the Indiana Fever.
“It’s more of an internal thing [right now],” Dolson said. “We all have to have a bit more pride. We know how to play basketball but every team, every player in this league knows how to play basketball.”