The Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury are headed to the playoffs, but positioning for the postseason remains of vital importance for both.
They'll each look to help that cause when meeting for the final time in the regular season on Tuesday night at Phoenix.
Seattle (16-15) currently sits seventh in the WNBA standings, with Phoenix (15-16) one game back in the eighth and final playoff spot. The Storm are just one-half game behind sixth-place Minnesota. Each of these teams have three games remaining in the regular season with Seattle playing all of them on the road and the Mercury at home the rest of the way.
The teams have split the first two meetings of 2019, but Seattle enters this matchup coming off a much-needed 92-75 victory over Atlanta on Sunday in its final regular-season home game. Point guard Jordin Canada had a career-high 21 points plus eight assists and five steals as the Storm rode 28 first-quarter points and a 58.5 percent shooting effort to win for just the second time in six games.
"I thought we had good pace, we pushed it," coach Dan Hughes told the Storm's television broadcast of his team's play.
Seattle will likely try to do the same against Phoenix, which looks to bounce back after being drubbed 105-78 at Chicago on Sunday. Brittney Griner had 26 points with nine rebounds and fellow star DeWanna Bonner scored just 12 but pulled down 12 rebounds for the Mercury, who were held to a season-low 25 second-half points.
Griner has averaged 26.8 points in the last five games, and 10.3 boards in her last three. She's totaled 38 points in two games with the Storm this season.
Bonner, meanwhile, has totaled just 26 points while shooting 7 of 24 over the last three games. However, she's combined for 51 points while going 16 of 41 in those two meetings with Seattle.
Like Bonner, Storm All-Star Natasha Howard has cooled off a bit of late. She's averaged only 11.8 points over her last four games. Howard had 21 with 16 boards in Seattle's season-opening home win over Phoenix on May 25, but was held to nine in a 69-67 loss to the Mercury - also at home - on June 30.