June 10, 2015

The Atlanta Dream can't control its own destiny in the hunt for the fourth seed in the WNBA Playoffs, but it certainly can't afford to lose focus and slip down the standings with just two games to play in the regular season.

The Dream's first order of business is to win on Tuesday against the San Antonio Stars at Philips Arena in Atlanta.

San Antonio has already secured the league's worst record and has been eliminated from the postseason for weeks.

However, the Stars aren't playing like also-rans. They gave the Minnesota Lynx, the top-seed in the playoffs, a scare on Sunday before coming up short in an 81-76 defeat. Moriah Jefferson, the Stars' second-leading scorer averaging 13.5 points per game, put up 26 points and eight assists in the losing effort.

Atlanta (16-15) is tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with the Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky, but would have to settle for fifth place because the Fever owns tiebreakers against both the Dream and the Sky.

Why is the fourth seed so important? The top four teams earn first round byes in the playoffs while the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth finishers will have to play each other in a one-game elimination round.

The Dream will be without Angel McCoughtry, its leading scorer, on Tuesday. McCoughtry was suspended by the WNBA on Monday for one game after receiving her seventh technical foul of the season.

McCoughtry, who is averaging 19.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, picked up her sixth and seventh technicals with 3:13 remaining in the second quarter during Atlanta's 86-75 loss Sunday at the Phoenix Mercury. Tiffany Hayes scored 22 points in the defeat for Atlanta.

San Antonio (6-25) has lost six straight games and nine of its last 10. The Stars have won just once in the eight games they've played since the WNBA's month-long break for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.

The Dream and Stars split their first two meetings this season, both in San Antonio, as the Dream won 73-63 in overtime in the season opener on May 14 and lost to the Stars 73-69 on June 25.

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