Like any playoff-bound team, the Seattle Storm are hoping to carry some momentum into the postseason. A second season that could potentially begin with a home game for the defending WNBA champs.
The visiting Storm can put themselves in position to host a first-round playoff game with a victory in their regular-season finale against the Dallas Wings on Sunday.
With stars Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird out all year with injuries, Seattle (17-16) has endured an inconsistent season. However, the Storm have exceeded expectations in some ways by simply getting to the postseason for the chance to defend their WNBA title.
"I'm very proud of the fact that we're a playoff team," Seattle coach Dan Hughes told komonews.com last month. "Now, we're battling for the best position we can."
The best Seattle can do is finish sixth. The Storm are seventh at the moment, one game behind sixth-place Minnesota. However, should Seattle win Sunday and the Lynx fall at Los Angeles, those teams would tie for sixth. The Storm hold the tiebreaker over Minnesota, and would host the Lynx in the first round next week. If the standings stay as they are, Minnesota will host Seattle.
The focus for the Storm, though, is to bounce back from a rough 102-68 loss at Los Angeles on Thursday. Natasha Howard (17.9 points per game) and Jewell Loyd each scored 13, but Seattle shot 34.8 percent and could do nothing to keep the Sparks from making 54.7 percent of their attempts.
Though Loyd (12.2 ppg) and teammate Alysha Clark became the first players in "W" history to record their 200th career 3-pointer in the same game, those milestones came as Seattle lost for the fifth time in eight contests.
Now, the Storm have a chance to complete a season sweep over Dallas (10-23), which is not headed to the playoffs. However, the Wings boast perhaps the hottest player in the league in Arike Ogunbowale (18.9 ppg).
In what seems to be a neck-and-neck race with Minnesota's Napheesa Collier for WNBA Rookie of the Year honors, Ogunbowale has a chance to set league rookie mark with a fifth straight 30-point game Sunday. After scoring 30 in an 86-73 loss at Washington on Friday, Ogunbowale has averaged 31.8 points in the last four, and is shooting 44.9 percent over her last five. She's also scored at least 20 points in 10 consecutive contests.
Ogunbowale, who will try to help the Wings avoid losing four consecutive games to end the season, has totaled 36 points in two games versus Seattle in 2019.