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Preview: Even matchups abound in Sunday’s WNBA schedule

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Either team in each of today’s five matchups has a case to win. How much will the standings shift when the dust settles?

WNBA: JULY 12 Minnesota Lynx at Atlanta Dream
Aside from the first-place Las Vegas Aces, who are inactive today, the last-place Atlanta Dream have the best winning streak in the WNBA. Can they extend it with a win against the injury-stricken LA Sparks?
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a slate of games that features 10 of the 12 teams, none of whom are playing a team within a game and a half of them in the standings, why does the potential for upset extend to everyone?

It’s mainly because the two teams on the biggest streaks right now, wins and losses, are the two teams not playing. It’s also because the team in action today with the biggest winning streak is the last-place Atlanta Dream.

The Dream host the Los Angeles Sparks in what’s technically the day’s marquee game between two of the best teams of late. Although Atlanta has yet to crack 70 points per game on average, Los Angeles has injury issues that they’ll need to overcome to win.

Interestingly, it’s the Indiana Fever who probably have the worst chance at upset today against the Connecticut Sun. But it’s not because they’re in 10th place and the Sun are in second place — it’s because the Fever are at home, where they’ve won just two games this season.

The Chicago Sky and Dallas Wings are meeting for the second Sunday in a row in a game that certainly has the potential to be close. Last time out, the Sky needed a big fourth quarter to win. Can the Wings turn things around this time?

Both the Phoenix Mercury and Minnesota Lynx have won two of their last three games, though there was a lot not to like in those games despite the wins. Playing each other will help them sort things out as they prepare for the second half of the season.

On paper, the New York Liberty and Seattle Storm matchup is another that seems fairly open and shut. But that’s ignoring the fact that the Liberty have already beaten the Storm this season, also in Seattle, where today’s game takes place. Will New York strike again?

Here’s what to know about today’s games and how to watch:

Game information

Los Angeles Sparks (8-7) vs. Atlanta Dream (5-10)

When: Sunday, July 14, at 3 p.m. ET

Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA

How to watch: NBA TV, WSB Now, TSN

Keys to the matchup: Los Angeles has won four of its last five, while Atlanta has won three of its last four, making them two of the league’s hottest teams. But over this span, the fact remains that the Sparks are finding ways to score and the Dream are not. If the underdog Dream want to win, they’ll have shut down the Sparks like the Wings did on Tuesday: by playing strong defense (especially from three-point range) and, importantly, having a solid shooting outing. With how many injuries Los Angeles is dealing with, Atlanta may have a chance to continue its season-best winning steak.

Connecticut Sun (10-6) vs. Indiana Fever (6-11)

When: Sunday, July 14, at 4 p.m. ET

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

How to watch: WNBA League Pass, NESN

Keys to the matchup: The Sun just ended a lengthy losing streak, and they’re facing a team in the Fever who want to prevent slipping further into one. But Indiana’s disadvantage comes not from their losing streak, but where they’ve been losing: at home. While Connecticut hasn’t been the best on the road, facing a team without a clear home-court advantage (Indiana’s 2-6 home record is the worst in the league) can be an advantage in itself. That is, unless the Sun’s losing-streak-ending game was some kind of fluke.

Chicago Sky (8-8) vs. Dallas Wings (5-10)

When: Sunday, July 14, at 4 p.m. ET

Where: College Park Center, Arlington, TX

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

Keys to the matchup: The Wings having only ever won at home this season is proving more intimidating to opponents by the game — they’ve taken down the Sparks, Lynx and Sun there. So avenging their July 7 loss in Chicago could be as simple as a change of scenery. But Dallas will also need to get its bench more involved to turn things around, something it showed signs of being able to accomplish in its last game. That said, if the Sky can not play down to the Wings’ level and shoot anywhere near 50 percent, they can grab a road win easily.

Phoenix Mercury (7-7) vs. Minnesota Lynx (9-7)

When: Sunday, July 14, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

How to watch: NBA TV, FOX Sports GO, SN1

Keys to the matchup: In their last three games, the Mercury barely beat the last-place Dream, routed the then-first place Mystics and were the victims of the end of the Sun’s five-game losing streak — not exactly the model of consistency. But the Lynx’s last three games have seen two close wins and a loss to the Dream — also not incredibly consistent. The one real difference? Phoenix has an average 10-point advantage over Minnesota in those games, courtesy of the Lynx’s sub-40 percent shooting. Both teams need a big game to show any sort of overall improvement — why not against each other?

New York Liberty (7-9) vs. Seattle Storm (9-8)

When: Sunday, July 14, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, WA

How to watch: WNBA League Pass, JOEtv

Keys to the matchup: The Liberty have been something of a giant-killer this season, with wins over the Aces and Storm. But after following up a four-game winning streak with its current two-game losing streak, New York needs to put together a complete offensive game to pull off the away sweep in Seattle. Luckily for the Liberty, the Storm have been having issues with complete games too, most recently relying on a big first quarter to carry them to a win.