Seeking to avenge their only loss of the season, the Sky hope to extend their club-record winning streak to seven games Saturday night with a rare road victory over a Fever team trying to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat.
Chicago (7-1) is the surprise leader in the Eastern Conference, but its lone defeat came against Indiana, 83-72 in its May 25 home opener. The star tandem of Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince combined for 38 points, but the Sky allowed the Fever (4-3) to shoot 48.3 percent - well above the 41.1 Chicago is allowing this season.
“They always give us a tough time,” Prince told the Sky’s official website Wednesday. “Hopefully we play better next game.”
That could be tough for the Sky, who are 5-20 all-time versus Indiana. The Fever have won 10 in a row and 11 of 12 at home against Chicago, with the Sky winning 80-73 there Aug. 13, 2006.
“It’s going to be hard because Indiana’s very scrappy,” Fowles said. “It just comes down to us getting it done on the court. Matching their intensity and be just as aggressive as them will mean a lot in this game.”
Chicago hopes it finally has the proper mindset to do so while trying to improve to 5-0 on the road. Prince had 17 points and Fowles added 16 with 15 rebounds as the Sky led throughout their 74-58 home rout of lowly Seattle on Wednesday.
While the 6-foot-6 Fowles remains one of the WNBA’s most dominant players, averaging 18.3 points and 14.6 rebounds, Prince is putting up a league-best 24.3 points per contest while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 52.8 percent (28 for 53) from 3-point range.
“When you followed this team (in the past) it was ‘limit Syl’s touches and flip a coin if someone else can step up,’” coach Pokey Chatman said. “Piph has stepped up and she’s drawn a lot of attention so now its Syl and Piph and that third option right now is being spread around.”
Fowles likely will be saddled with the responsibility of trying to contain reigning WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings, whose 321 points in 23 career games versus Chicago are the second-most by any opponent against the Sky.
Catchings (20.5 ppg), who scored 22 at Chicago last month, looks to help the Fever avoid losing four straight in the regular season for the first time since a six-game skid July 20-29, 2007. She was held to 15 points and missed a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in Friday’s 67-66 loss at Washington.
Indiana shot 37.1 percent, went 17 for 26 from the free-throw line and was outrebounded 41-32 by a last-place Mystics team that won for the second time in 2012.