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Preview: Sunday’s 4-game slate offers plenty of room for movement in standings

Today’s matchups — Liberty-Dream, Lynx-Wings, Sky-Sparks and Mercury-Storm — wrap up a busy June in the WNBA.

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Jordin Canada tied two career-highs with 17 points and 6 rebounds in Friday’s Storm win against the Sky.
Courtesy of Seattle Storm via Twitter

With two of today’s four matchups offering a tie in the standings as a reward, and several other teams being within one game of each other, a win for many teams today could rocket them into a better position.

Winning this season has been a tall order for the Dream, and today they’re looking for just their third of the season. But it’ll be a similar challenge for the Liberty, who are coming off a win but have yet to win two games in a row. New York will hope to benefit from a pro-Asia Durr crowd — she attended high school in Atlanta.

The Dallas Wings will look to establish some consistency against the Minnesota Lynx. While the Wings have learned how to stay in games, their offense has been stagnant. The Lynx are on a two-game winning streak, but both games were against teams currently outside the playoff bubble. Plus, Minnesota’s road record of 2-2 — while statistically one of the best in the league — still shows their vulnerability, especially with one of those losses coming in New York.

Chicago is in search of another win against a quality team in Los Angeles today, but a loss for the Sky would put them in a tie with the Sparks right in the middle of the standings. (If the Lynx lose, they’ll join them all at 6-6.) It’s imperative that the Sky, who were in third place not long ago, start winning more on the road if they hope to end their three-year playoff-less streak.

What will bring down the Storm? Their 8-5 record isn’t anything special, except that those wins have come at a time where they’ve been missing as many as three star players at a time, most recently Jewell Loyd. Luckily, Jordin Canada and Natasha Howard have been more than willing to step up and put in career numbers when needed. Meanwhile, the Mercury seem to be waiting for Diana Taurasi’s imminent return, but their play has suffered as a result.

Here’s how to watch each of today’s games:

Game information

New York Liberty (4-7) vs. Atlanta Dream (2-7)

When: Sunday, June 30, at 3 p.m. ET

Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA

How to watch: WNBA League Pass, WSB Now (Atlanta-based live stream)

Keys to the matchup: The WNBA’s two worst defenses face off today, so winning this game will likely come down to who has the better offensive outing. New York has a top-three offense, but it loses games because its defense isn’t quite up to par. Against a team like Atlanta, it has the opportunity to explode for points and give Asia Durr a win in her homecoming.

Minnesota Lynx (6-5) vs. Dallas Wings (3-7)

When: Sunday, June 30, at 4 p.m. ET

Where: College Park Center, Arlington, TX

How to watch: WNBA League Pass, FOX Sports Southwest Plus, FOX Sports North Plus

Keys to the matchup: Dallas is the only team in the WNBA not averaging over 70 points per game, so until further notice, offense is always going to be a concern. But the Wings can work with that — their 70-67 loss to the Lynx to open the month, while a comeback, showed that their defense can (eventually) keep teams near their own scoring numbers. Dallas’ last two games, a one-point win and a one-point loss, were also in this low 60s/high 70s area. Being stingy on defense could win this game for the Wings, but realistically, a low-scoring win would just cover up their offensive issues for another day.

Chicago Sky (6-5) vs. Los Angeles Sparks (5-6)

When: Sunday, June 30, at 5 p.m. ET

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

How to watch: WNBA League Pass, Spectrum SportsNet (LA-area TV)

Keys to the matchup: The Sparks have looked absolutely lost many times this season, but their recent win over the Aces held some hope that they might be turning things around. Chicago is a perfect candidate for Los Angeles to show that they’re back on track, as the Sparks have won four in a row against them. Both teams have had issues with turnovers this season, so whichever team can either limit their own turnovers or take better advantage of their opponents’ turnovers could use that to come out on top.

Phoenix Mercury (4-5) vs. Seattle Storm (8-5)

When: Sunday, June 30, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, WA

How to watch: WNBA League Pass, JOEtv (Seattle-area TV)

Keys to the matchup: Last time these teams played — a 77-68 Storm win — it was at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. Today, they’re in Seattle. Could the Mercury take advantage of the home-court whiplash to get a win? It’s unlikely. No matter which court is their home court, the Storm have yet to lose there this season. Phoenix could take advantage of its recent resurgence, though, having won its last two games (though both at home, the only place it’s been comfortable this season). Today could be as cut-and-dry as the Storm riding to a home win against a team that doesn’t play well on the road. But if the Mercury can shut down the likes of Natasha Howard and Jordin Canada, while providing some patented offense of their own from their go-to scorers, they could steal a win on the road. Extending their winning streak to three games would be an especially favorable situation as they prepare to welcome back Diana Taurasi as soon as their next game.