Storm seeks season sweep of Fever (Jun 8, 2017)

BY AP • June 8, 2017

The Seattle Storm will try to complete a regular-season series sweep of the Indiana Fever when the teams meet for the third and final time of the season Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Seattle (5-2) already has notched two wins against Indiana (3-5) in the past month. The Storm emerged with an 87-82 victory over the Fever on May 14, and they cruised to a 94-70 win on May 28.

Both of those games were played in Seattle. The Friday matchup could be more difficult for the Storm in Indianapolis, where the Fever have posted all three of their wins this season. Indiana's unbeaten streak at home finally came to an end Wednesday night in a 98-90 overtime loss to Phoenix.

The Storm have won five of their past six games and sit two games back of the Minnesota Lynx (7-0) for the top spot in the WNBA standings. Seattle is 1-1 on the road entering Friday's contest.

The Fever have lost three of their past four games to slip two games below .500. Indiana needs a win to join Washington, Seattle and New York as the only teams with four home victories this season.

Seattle is averaging 82.7 points a game this season and allowing an average of 79.7 points a game on defense. The Storm are led in scoring by guard Jewell Loyd (18.1 points per game), forward Breanna Stewart (14.8) and forward Crystal Langhorne (14.0).

Veteran point guard Sue Bird, 36, is averaging 8.4 points and 8.2 assists for the Storm.

"On this team, we have a lot of weapons," Bird said to the Seattle Times. "So for me as the point guard, I'm just trying to get everybody in the right spots and then make basketball plays. You just have to read what the defense gives you. I think a lot of the assists that our entire team gets is about finding the open player and making the right play."

Indiana is averaging 78.9 points a game and allowing an average of 88.4 points a game on defense. The Fever are led in scoring by forward Candice Dupree (14.9 points per game), guard Tiffany Mitchell (12.1) and guard Shenise Johnson (10.3).

Guard Briann January has a left ankle injury, and her status for Friday is uncertain. If she is unable to play, guard Erica Wheeler would take on a larger role. Wheeler scored a career-high 24 points Wednesday but lamented a missed opportunity for her and her teammates to beat the Mercury.

"I think our defense was on point," Wheeler told the team's official website. "We did some good things. It was just turnovers down the stretch."



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