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Preview: Mercury host Sky in Wednesday matinee

Can the tenth-place Sky take the season series from the playoff-bound Mercury?

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quigley taurasi barry gossage nba
Allie Quigley, Chicago’s lone All-Star, led all scorers with 20 points in the Sky’s previous matchup with the Phoenix Mercury on June 24.

The final game before the All-Star break features the Chicago Sky against a Phoenix Mercury team with a lot of absences. Can the Sky take advantage, and take two of three from the Mercury this season? Here’s how to watch and find out.

Phoenix Mercury (15-10) vs. Chicago Sky (8-17)

When: Wednesday, July 25 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena | TICKETS

How to watch: WNBA League Pass (worldwide streaming)

Injuries and absences: For the Mercury, Diana Taurasi (suspension) and Leilani Mitchell (personal) are out, while Brittney Griner (back) is questionable.

Storylines to follow

Last meeting: Sky 97, Mercury 88 (June 24)

If there was ever a time for the Sky to prove their worth as a team in spite of their current place in the standings, it’s today. Despite Chicago missing a key player for the season in Jamierra Faulkner, the Mercury could be without their two top scorers and a key bench player for this game, in addition to Sancho Lyttle, who is already out for the season.

The duo of Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi is absolutely electric, with the two averaging 40.5 points per game to go with team highs in Griner’s 7.4 rebounds and Taurasi’s 4.8 assists. But with the chance that they’ll both be missing in action, the Sky have a real opportunity to take advantage — and take the season series while they’re at it.

Not that the Mercury haven’t been struggling even with both Griner and Taurasi in the lineup. Since losing Lyttle on June 30, Phoenix has gone 2-5 and now finds themselves right in the shuffle of the playoff seedings. And because it’s becoming more unlikely that the Sky will find themselves in playoff position, this game poses a fantastic opportunity for them to play for pride.

In the teams’ previous matchup, Allie Quigley led all scorers with 20 points, Courtney Vandersloot had 12 assists and Chicago’s bench scored 32 points. Now, with Stefanie Dolson back in the starting five, there’s a real chance for all of the Sky’s starters to reach double figures, especially with the chance of avoiding Griner’s mighty presence in the paint (especially her 4 blocks from the last matchup).

Clearly, the Sky have what it takes to win — they did it once already, when Phoenix was at full strength. But can the Mercury establish themselves as a top-tier team regardless, even without a handful of their best players? This is as close as this matchup is going to get, so it’s definitely worth keeping a tab with this game open on your work computer.