San Antonio, though, seems to be lacking that kind of intensity recently.
Trying to avoid a fourth straight loss, the Silver Stars host the Fever on Friday night in a matchup of playoff-bound teams.
After winning a franchise-record 12 straight, San Antonio has lost four of five. The Silver Stars (17-9), who are one game behind second-place Los Angeles in the Western Conference, fell 94-90 at Phoenix on Saturday despite a career-high 32 points from Sophia Young.
They were outscored 28-14 in the second period and allowed the Mercury to connect on 10 of 28 shots from 3-point range.
A lax effort on defense has been a big reason for San Antonio’s slump. The Silver Stars are giving up 89.2 points per game over their last five contests, which is 12.0 more than their season average and 16.0 more than they allowed during their winning streak.
Struggles by Becky Hammon are another source of San Antonio’s problems. Hammon is second on the team with 15.2 points per game but has been held to 9.8 over the last five. She didn’t record a field goal until late in the third quarter Saturday before finishing with 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting.
San Antonio posted a stunning 88-72 win over Indiana (17-9) on July 5, coming back from an 18-point deficit while outscoring the Fever 63-29 over the final 21:13.
The 34-point swing was the second-largest by an Indiana opponent in franchise history.
While not on the same level, the Fever also couldn’t protect a lead their last time out as they had their five-game winning streak snapped with a 71-64 loss at Atlanta on Wednesday.
Katie Douglas scored 23 points but committed six of her team’s 17 turnovers as Indiana fell 2 1/2 games behind Connecticut for first place in the East.
The Fever led 32-21 late in the second quarter before the Dream went on an 8-0 run prior to the break—helped by two Indiana turnovers and a blocked shot — and were then able to carry the momentum into the second half.
“We expected Atlanta to come out and play at a high level since they are dealing with adversity, and fighting for their playoff lives,” coach Lin Dunn said. “I thought Atlanta was real aggressive and real physical, and we handled it poorly.”
The Fever will look to hand San Antonio, which is 9-2 at home, its first four-game losing streak since a six-game skid in August 2011.