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If the Seattle Storm players need some inspiration to avoid a season-high-tying third consecutive loss this weekend, they need only look down the bench at coach Dan Hughes.

As the team, and the rest of the WNBA, recognizes Breast Health Awareness on Sunday, Hughes, who recently battled cancer, might have a little extra motivation to guide his team to victory over the visiting Minnesota Lynx.

Prior to the start of the season, Hughes, one of the most successful and respected coaches in WNBA history, underwent surgery to remove a tumor in his digestive tract. He missed the team's first nine games while recovering, then returned on June 21.

That's why Sunday's contest, which also opens a final four-game home stretch for Seattle, should be special to Hughes. Along with other cancer survivors in attendance, regardless of gender.

"I've always told people the best thing the WNBA has done is the Breast Health Awareness game," the 64-year-old Hughes told The Associated Press this week. "It has been special. When you hear the word cancer in your life, things that you've done in the past carry a little different meaning to you.

"You're thankful."

On the court, Hughes would be thankful if the Storm (14-13) can end another rough patch. After being ripped in an 88-59 loss at Washington on Wednesday, Seattle blew a 13-point second-half lead and seven-point advantage in the final two minutes to lose 79-78 at Connecticut on Friday - its fifth defeat in seven games.

Natasha Howard (18.9 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game) had 27 points with 10 rebounds Friday, and is averaging 22.8 and 9.3 boards over the last four games. She's averaged 21.0 points while Seattle's won two of the three previous meetings with Minnesota in 2019.

Howard dropped a career-high 33 points on the Lynx in the most recent meeting, a 90-79 Storm road win on July 17. The Storm and Lynx (13-13) currently sit sixth and seventh, respectively, in the WNBA standings, so playoff positioning will be at stake Sunday.

Minnesota also will be looking to bounce back from a loss, 86-79 at home to Washington. Sylvia Fowles had 16 points for the Lynx, who led most of the second half until the league-leading Mystics used a 13-4 run to take control.

The Lynx have lost twice over the last five games, both to Washington.

"I like where we are," coach Cheryl Reeve said via the Lynx's official Facebook page. "We didn't win this game, but it's not like we didn't show up. It's not like we didn't do some really good things. We just didn't win the game.

"Somehow, we've got to go to Seattle and try to win that game. That's what it's about at this point. You can't hang on this stuff for too long. You've got to turn around and try to win the next one."

Fowles (13.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg) scored 16 in each of the last two games versus Seattle.

It's uncertain if Storm guard Jordan Canada (9.7 ppg, 5.0 assists per game) will be available after she sat Friday with an apparent shoulder issue.