Storm outside of playoff spot as Wings visit (Jul 27, 2017)

BY AP • July 27, 2017

The Seattle Storm hope to set the tone before heading out on a difficult stretch of road games when the Dallas Wings visit Seattle's KeyArena on Friday for a showdown between two teams in need of strong finishes to stay in the playoff hunt.

The Storm (9-12) sit in ninth place in the league standings after suffering a 68-60 road loss to the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs. The regular season ends the first week of September.

After Friday's game against the Wings, Seattle's next four contests are on the road, including stops at first-place Minnesota and third-place Connecticut.

"There's always a sense of urgency in the WNBA because the season is so condensed," forward Alysha Clark told the Seattle Times early in the week. "We had a lot of games in this first half that were close and we didn't finish them for whatever reasons. Coming back after the break, a focus for us is finishing games."

The Wings are in seventh place in the league standings and are coming off an 84-82 win over the Indiana Fever on Tuesday. Dallas guard Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 21 points, her sixth straight 20-plus-point performance.

Diggins-Smith was held to just 13 points in an 89-69 blowout loss to the Storm on July 1 in Dallas. The Wings made just 1 of 17 3-point attempts and had no answer for Seattle forward Breanna Stewart, who poured in 30 points. The Storm have won the last two meetings with the Wings.

The Wings received a boost from the return of second-year guard Aerial Powers, who missed the first 22 games of the season with ankle injuries. Powers scored nine points in 18 minutes of action in Dallas' win over the Fever.

"It was like Christmas," Powers told the Dallas Morning News after the game. "When I stepped out there I was a little nervous and finally like, 'Yes. I'm back here. I'm on the court.'"

Dallas is 4-7 on the road this season, but did win at Seattle last July.

The teams will face each other again on Aug. 4 in Dallas.

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