The Seattle Storm will get the chance to defend their WNBA championship, but they're certainly not playing like a playoff team at the moment.
Closing out their final homestand of the season, the Storm try to avoid a third straight defeat Sunday against the Atlanta Dream.
Sitting seventh in the WNBA standings, Seattle (15-15) has already locked up a playoff spot. However, they've lost four of five and seven of the last 10. The latest setback came 89-70 at home to Connecticut on Tuesday.
Jewell Loyd had 18 points and the Storm made 11 of 22 3-point attempts. But, Seattle also committed 17 turnovers and allowed the Sun to shoot 52.9 percent from the field while dropping to 1-2 on its final four-game homestand of the regular season.
"We've just got to have a little composure," Seattle coach Dan Hughes said during the team's broadcast Tuesday.
It has not been the way any playoff-bound team wants to be playing at this point in the season. After this contest, Seattle closes the regular season with three road games - beginning Tuesday at Phoenix, the team it's currently tied with in the standings and one that holds the eighth seed.
Leading scorer Natasha Howard (18.1 points per game) scored a season-low six points against the Sun, and has averaged 11.0 in the last three games. Howard has totaled 39 points as Seattle split the first two 2019 meetings with Atlanta.
While the playoffs are not in the cards for the Dream (7-23) this season, they still have a chance to move out of the basement in the "W" standings. Atlanta's bid for a third consecutive victory, however, ended with Thursday's 65-58 home loss to Phoenix.
Renee Montgomery (9.2 ppg) had 20 points for the Dream, who scored just six points in the first quarter and shot 26 percent on the night, but got within three with less than 30 seconds to play against the Mercury. Tiffany Hayes (14.9 ppg) scored 14 points and Jessica Breland failed to score while going 0 of 11 from the field, but pulled down 11 rebounds.
Hayes posted 21 points when the Dream recorded their first road win of 2019, 77-66 at Seattle on July 5. Atlanta is 3-12 away from home.