The WNBA's month-long hiatus appears to be coming at an inopportune time for the surging Connecticut Sun.
In contrast, the Olympic break surely can't come soon enough for the scuffling Chicago Sky.
The visiting Sun look to extend their longest winning streak of the season to five while the Sky try to avoid an eighth loss in nine games Friday night as both teams conclude their pre-break schedules.
After winning all three games on its recently-completed road trip, Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut (14-4) completed a home-and-home sweep of Washington with Wednesday's 85-73 victory. Honored before tip-off, Olympians Asjha Jones and Tina Charles scored 22 and 17 points, respectively, and combined for 16 rebounds.
"With the two of them, it makes it really tough," Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. "We went to try to slow Charles down and Asjha gets going. We try to slow Asjha down and Charles gets going. I really think that was the difference in the game."
Holding opponents to an average of 74.5 points during their winning streak, the Sun now try to add to Chicago's recent woes. The Sky (8-8) have dropped six of seven since losing Epiphanny Prince - due back following the Olympic break - to a broken right foot during an 84-70 loss at Indiana on June 16.
Chicago saw its struggles continue Wednesday with a 77-68 defeat to San Antonio. The Sky outrebounded the Silver Stars 39-23 but committed 22 turnovers.
"We're not a very good basketball team right now, and that's on me," coach Pokey Chatman said. "I take that responsibility, and we'll figure it out.
"Individuals need to look in the mirror, try to improve themselves ... It's just that we keep on doing the same thing, and are shooting ourselves in the foot."
Swin Cash and Sylvia Fowles, set to join Jones and Charles on the U.S. national team, failed to get much going Wednesday for the Sky. Cash turned the ball over five times and managed eight points while Fowles scored a season-low six, as the duo shot a combined 4 of 19 from the field.
"Swin needs to take care of the basketball a little bit better," Chatman said. " ... I told Sylvia Fowles, you won't score on Friday if you don't bring it, then you get to hang out with both of them in London. Sleep on that. So, that's the challenge."
Fowles, who leads the league with an average of 12.5 rebounds and scores 18.4 points per game, knows Chicago needs to bring a better effort going forward.
"It's more mental than anything," she said. "Taking these losses has been tough but at the same time it's still basketball they put on shorts the same way we put on shorts. At the end of the day you have to check yourself and figure out what you can do to better to help your teammates out."
- Chicago Sky
- Tina Charles
- Sylvia Fowles