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Dream-Sky Preview

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After clinching a playoff berth their last time out, the Atlanta Dream can officially turn their attention to a postseason matchup with the Indiana Fever.

The Chicago Sky will need some help from one the league's less formidable teams in order to get in.

The Sky try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive Thursday night when they host a Dream club seeking a season-best fourth consecutive victory.

Chicago (13-19) is one game behind New York for the Eastern Conference's fourth and final playoff spot with two to go. The Sky, who conclude their schedule Saturday against WNBA-worst Washington, can only get in by winning their final two games and having the Liberty lose both matchups in a home-and-home set versus lowly Tulsa.

While Chicago and New York have split four meetings, the Liberty hold the tiebreaker thanks to a better conference record.

The Sky took a big step back in their quest for their first postseason berth Tuesday, falling 75-60 at Seattle. Epiphanny Prince proved to be the lone bright spot, scoring a game-high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds and three steals.

"It's a tough loss for us," she said. "We dug ourselves too far in a hole ... It's just really unfortunate for us right now."

Chicago, which trailed 26-13 at the end of the first quarter, was limited to 32.4 percent shooting and outrebounded 42-25.

"Opportunity lost. We don't have a lot of time to wallow in it," coach Pokey Chatman said. "We have a very good Atlanta team waiting for us, and that's just the nature of our profession. Of course you look at the tactical and basketball fundamental things - that'll be the easiest part to do. But to make them understand you have an hour to deal with this and be sick about it, then use some of that raw emotion and channel it into something positive."

The Sky pulled out a pair of two-point victories over the Dream (18-14) before losing the last two matchups.

Atlanta is coming off its sixth victory in seven games, 82-74 at Washington on Friday. Leading the league with 21.9 points per game, Angel McCoughtry, who had come off the bench in each of her previous six games, scored 26 in her return to the starting lineup.

"We did some isolation plays for her to create some things and she's a good one-on-one player and she just made some clutch baskets for us," coach Fred Williams said.

The Sky know all too well of McCoughtry's prowess. She's posted 26.3 points per game in three matchups this year, including a season-best 33 points during a 94-92 loss June 2. Prince scored a career-high 33 in that game.

Chicago's Ticha Penicheiro is expected to be available despite announcing her plans to retire Wednesday. Penicheiro, the league's all-time assists leader with 2,597, is averaging 1.9 points and 2.2 assists in 17 games.

"As they say 'all good things must to come to an end,' and unfortunately the time has come for me to walk away from this game I love," she told the league's official website.



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