Sky-Storm Preview

The Associated PressAugust 14, 2013

While the Chicago Sky sit atop the Eastern Conference, maintaining their lead could prove difficult with Elena Delle Donne's status up in the air.

The Sky may be without their star rookie when they try to avoid a fourth consecutive road loss to the Seattle Storm on Thursday night.

After posting a career-high 32 points in a 94-86 overtime win over WNBA-leading Minnesota on Sunday, Delle Donne scored nine in 11 minutes before missing the second half with a left foot injury in Tuesday's 80-76 defeat at Los Angeles.

"I didn't know what happened, but someone thought that I got my foot stepped on," said Delle Donne, among the WNBA leaders with 18.2 points per contest. "It's just real tender and painful right now - non-weight bearing for a little bit."

Though X-rays came back clear, Della Donne is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Wednesday. The Sky (15-8) split two games Aug. 2 and 3 with Delle Donne out due to a concussion.

"It's really frustrating to not be able to be out there with my teammates," she said.

Delle Donne had 12 points and 12 rebounds but shot 3 for 13 as Chicago blew a 14-point lead in a 69-60 loss to the Storm on July 2. The Sky have been outscored by an average of 15.3 points during their losing streak in Seattle.

The Storm (10-12) were blown out 77-56 by San Antonio on Friday before bouncing back to beat the Silver Stars 69-63 two days later. Tina Thompson had 17 points and 11 rebounds while Tanisha Wright scored 16.

"People of character always respond, and I said (to the players before the game) that I know what kind of people we have in here," coach Brian Agler said. "Us responding didn't surprise me. I didn't know whether it would be good enough to win or not. But I knew we would respond and play better."

Seattle limited the Silver Stars to 33.8 percent shooting and held a 48-32 edge on the glass, its highest rebounding total of the year.

"We had a way better effort and way better focus on what needed to be done - and a little bit more urgency," Wright told the team's official website. "Right now, everything is about the playoffs. My focus is to make sure I'm concentrating, and we're winning games, game by game, but understanding in the back of my head that every game matters."

Sitting 2 1/2 games ahead of San Antonio for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West, Seattle is seeking its first set of back-to-back home wins of the year.

The Sky have dropped three consecutive road matchups with West foes since beating Phoenix 102-80 in their season opener May 27.

Chicago's Sylvia Fowles, averaging a league-leading 11.4 boards, has scored a combined 53 points and shot 64.3 percent in the last two games.