Stars-Storm Preview

ALAN FERGUSON (STATS Writer)
The Associated Press

The San Antonio Stars remain in good position to make the playoffs despite being in a funk for much of the past three weeks.

That stretch began with a lopsided defeat to last-place Seattle, and the Stars will try to avenge that loss by sending the Storm to a franchise record-tying eighth consecutive defeat Sunday night.

Despite losing six of eight, San Antonio (13-15) remains in line for a seventh postseason berth in eight years, with a half-game lead over fourth-place Los Angeles in the Western Conference. Kayla McBride scored 27 points Friday but the Stars fell 89-79 to Connecticut.

"It's very frustrating," coach Dan Hughes said. "Coming off a game that I thought we played as well as we could play (a 92-74 win over Chicago on Tuesday), we wanted to stay at that level, and we didn't.

"It's going to take resilience, and we've got to hang. I think a lot of what we want to do is still out there, but it's tough. The league is very competitive."

The Stars had won four of five before an 88-67 home loss to Seattle on July 11. With 13 points, McBride was the only San Antonio player to score more than 10, and her club fell to 1-2 this season against the Storm (9-20).

Seattle has dropped seven in a row since that victory and is all but assured of ending its league record of 10 consecutive playoff appearances. The Storm trail Los Angeles by four games with five to play and have lost 20 games for the first time since finishing 10-22 in 2001, their second WNBA season.

Shekinna Stricklen had a season-high 20 points Thursday against visiting Indiana but no other player was in double figures in a 76-67 loss.

"We aren't making enough winning plays," coach Brian Agler said. ''Winning plays don't mean making shots. ... Getting a key defensive stop down the stretch and not getting mixed up on a baseline out-of-bounds play and giving up the layup, those are the kinds of mistakes we are making."

Seattle, which hasn't dropped eight in a row since June 15-July 3, 2000, fell 87-82 in overtime in its only other visit from San Antonio this season June 19. Danielle Adams hit a tying 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds left in regulation, and Danielle Robinson scored six of her team-best 20 points in the extra session.

Adams matched a season high with 18 points in a 79-72 loss to Seattle on June 13 but was held to six points on 3-of-9 shooting in last month's defeat. Stricklen had a team-best 19 points and made eight of 13 shots in that victory.