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Previews: Mystics hope to take down Sky, maintain eighth place

The Washington Mystics are trying to keep that eighth and final playoff spot, the Minnesota Lynx are looking to rise and the Los Angeles Sparks’ playoff hopes hang in the balance.

Atlanta Dream v Washington Mystics
Tina Charles of the Mystics leads the WNBA in scoring.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Chicago Sky and Washington Mystics have everything to play for at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday as the Mystics are fighting for their playoff lives and the Sky want to end the season on a high note.

The Mystics have had an up and down season and are still dealing with injury concerns for Elena Della Donne. She missed Friday night’s game against the Dream and has missed five games in a row. It is still unknown when she will return or if she will return at all. The Mystics are currently 11-18 and are hanging onto the eighth seed by only a half a game.

The Mystics are still in control of their own destiny. As long as they keep winning they’ll make the playoffs. That won’t come easy though, as they play the star-filled roster of the Sky on Sunday. But with Tina Charles leading the charge, the Mystics have to feel good about their chances.

The Sky are all but a lock to stay at the sixth seed, but this is still an important game to win. The Sky have had a tumultuous year and are finally, for the first time in a while, healthy. They have no injuries to report, which is great news for Skytown. Can they take this health and stack a couple of victories together to end the season strong?

The next matchup on Sunday is a rematch of Friday night’s game where the Minnesota Lynx blew out the Indiana Fever 89-72. These two teams are having polar opposite seasons as the Fever have only mustered six victories in a season they’ll soon love to forget while the Lynx are 19-10 with opportunities to end the season as high as the second seed.

For the Fever the remainder of the season is about ending any positive they can. Whether that’s winning a string of games, figuring out who should be part of the team’s rebuild or giving other players a longer look. Kelsey Mitchell has been a bright spot amidst the darkness, averaging 16.7 points per game. The Fever will need a big game from her if they want to earn their seventh victory of the year.

The Lynx have everything going right. They have won seven of their last ten and are just a half a game out of the third seed. Victory won’t come easy as it’s difficult to beat any team in back-to-back matchups. We’ll see if Minnesota can get another big performance from Aerial Powers. She was spectacular in the Friday victory, scoring 20 points in 20 minutes.

The final game of the weekend is an intriguing West Coast matchup with the Seattle Storm facing off against the Los Angeles Sparks. The Storm are trying to maintain their playoff positioning and the Sparks are trying to earn a spot.

The Storm are at a crossroads. Despite their impressive 20-10 record, they’ve been mediocre since the Olympic break. They are 5-5 in their last ten games and just got the bad news that Breanna Stewart will miss the rest of the regular season. Can the Storm still achieve their goals without Stewie? Will they fall in the standings with the Lynx just a half game behind? They’ll need to keep winning if they want to earn at least a one-round bye.

Despite the loss of Stewart, the Storm are still stacked. They’ll need to continue getting elite guard play from Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd and maybe Katie Lou Samuelson can replicate the performance she had against the Mystics where she scored 13 points? Defense should stay consistent as well for the Storm; they’ve held their last five opponents to an average of 80 points per game.

The Sparks are playing their worst basketball of the year as they are struggling to get anything done offensively and have lost six in a row. They have little bench production and are having trouble finding success in the post-Candace Parker era. The road to victory seems difficult, but the Sparks can win if they dominate the boards, eliminate turnovers and find someone other than Nia Coffey to produce coming off the bench.

One player the Sparks are hoping to get back is Chiney Ogwumike who left their last game early and is questionable for Sunday night’s matchup. Having a player like C. Ogwumike available would be a big boost in the Sparks’ final home game of the season.

Game information

Chicago Sky (15-14) vs. Washington Mystics (11-18)

When: Sunday, Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. ET

Where: Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL

How to watch: ABC

Key to the matchup: The Mystics need to control the boards and get enough offensive production to win on the road in Chicago. The Sky will feel as though they have the advantage with their home crowd and an early Sunday game. The Sky need to reduce turnovers and take advantage of their team finally being fully healthy.

Mystics injury report: Myisha Hines (out; illness), Elena Della Donne (out; back), Erica McCall (probable)

Sky injury report: None

Minnesota Lynx (19-10) vs. Indiana Fever (6-22)

When: Sunday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Target Center in Minnesota, MN

How to watch: NBA TV

Key to the matchup: The Fever are looking for any and all positive takeaways to make in what’s left of the season. If the Fever want to win they’ll need to try and contain the Lynx’s bigs and keep them from dominating the game. The Lynx just need to try and replicate their last victory against the Fever where they won by 17 points. They were offensively dominant with four players in double digits. If they get another 27 points from their bench, they should be looking at another victory.

Lynx injury report: Layshia Clarendon (doubtful; right fibula), Damiris Dantas (out for season; right foot), Rennia Davis (out for season; left foot stress fracture)

Fever injury report: Jessica Breland (out; left thumb), Kysre Gondrezick (out; personal leave), Bernadett Határ (out; right ankle), Chelsey Perry (out; right knee), Danielle Robinson (out; right ankle)

L.A. Sparks (10-19) vs. Seattle Storm (20-10)

When: Sunday, Sept. 12 at 9 p.m. ET

Where: Staples Center in Los Angeles, California

How to watch: NBA TV, Spectrum Sportsnet, JOE tv

Key to the matchup: The Sparks need to get something from their bench if they want to avoid losing their seventh straight game and keep their playoff hopes alive. Can C. Ogwumike play and, if she does, can she be effective? The Storm will have to adapt to having no Breanna Stewart for the rest of the regular season and try to keep their third-place seeding. If the Storm continue to get offensive production from their role players and stay locked in on defense, they should be able to leave Los Angeles victorious.

Sparks injury report: Chiney Ogwumike (questionable; right knee), Kristi Toliver (out; left hand), Jasmine Walker (out for season; right knee)

Storm injury report: Jordin Canada (out; right knee), Breanna Stewart (out; left foot)