The Sky (11-9) cannot overtake fourth-place Minnesota, which swept the two meetings in the "wubble" and relegated James Wade's team to the first round for the second straight year. Chicago again failed to deliver against one of the teams that could be a potential postseason opponent beyond the first round, losing 86-80 on Sunday to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Cheyenne Parker had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Sky, who have lost three straight and faded down the stretch with just 10 fourth-quarter points. Courtney Vandersloot dished out 15 assists – her third game with 13 or more on the season – as she extended her run with 10 or more dimes to four games.
"We just keep on staying positive and trying to rectify mistakes," Wade told The Associated Press. "I don't think you know you do anything different from just trying to adjust and adapt to the situations that you have and keep on learning from the losses, because you have to learn from the wins and losses. So, we just have to keep on learning and try to apply what we can."
While Vandersloot cannot set a single-season record for assists for a fourth straight year since the season is only 22 games instead of the standard 34, the MVP candidate can become the first player in WNBA history to average 10 or more assists in a season should she rack up 24 over the final two contests.
After scoring 22 points in Sunday's defeat, Allie Quigley is averaging 15.9 for the season, but her perimeter shooting is still not on par with 2019. She is connecting at a 35.4 percent clip in the "wubble," well off her 44.2 percent marksmanship last year.
Atlanta (5-14) is on the edge of mathematical elimination from postseason consideration, trailing eighth-place Dallas by two games with three remaining. The Dream, who are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the second time in Nicki Collen's three seasons, were beaten 89-79 by Las Vegas on Saturday.
Betnijah Laney totaled 21 points and seven rebounds for Atlanta, which played Las Vegas even for three quarters before being outscored 14-4 at the outset of the fourth and failing to recover.
"I think it was a tough stretch because we got good shots," Collen explained to the Dream's official website. "During that stretch we had a layup for Elizabeth [Williams] on a drop off from Mo [Monique Billings], then Blake [Dietrick] had a driving left handed layup, so we had back-to-back layups that we missed. That happens."
Chennedy Carter added 19 points and six assists as she continues her late push for Rookie of the Year honors. The No. 4 overall pick is averaging 16.5 points and 3.5 assists and scored 19 per contest in four starts since returning from a sprained ankle.
Vandersloot had only five assists in the first meeting, but she also only played 24 minutes as the Sky rolled by the Dream 92-67 on Aug. 16. Cheyenne Parker scored 17 points off the bench as every player on Chicago score at least four points.