Though home-court advantage in the postseason is out of the question, the San Antonio Stars are still in position to return to the playoffs for a seventh time in eight years.
They’ll try to maintain their hold on the Western Conference’s third seed Friday night when they host the scuffling Connecticut Sun.
First-place Phoenix and second-place Minnesota have distanced themselves from the rest of the conference, while San Antonio (13-14) sits a game ahead of Los Angeles, which occupies the West’s final playoff spot.
The Stars, who reached the postseason for six straight years before missing out in 2013 when they finished 12-22, had dropped five of six prior to Tuesday’s 92-74 win over Chicago.
Five players scored 11-plus with Kayla McBride’s 16 points leading the way. San Antonio shot 50.7 percent and recorded 27 assists, and it ranks among the league leaders with 18.2 assists per game.
"This is the kind of basketball that we want to play," said Jia Perkins, who scored 12 in her first game since missing 11 with a strained hamstring. "That’s San Antonio basketball, when the ball is moving and we find the open shooters or we’re taking advantage of anything on the block. We did a great, great job of that tonight."
The last-place Sun (10-17) are a league-worst 3-11 away from home and have dropped 11 of 13 overall. Their defense has been particularly porous during a four-game skid, surrendering 88.8 points per game, and Connecticut remains the WNBA’s worst shooting team with a 41.4 field-goal percentage.
Though rebounding has been one of their few strengths – the Sun average a positive differential – they’ve been outrebounded by 16 over the last two games.
They were outrebounded 41-32 in an 89-80 loss at Atlanta on Tuesday.
"We haven’t quite figured out how to impose our will," coach Anne Donovan said. "… Their experience in the post is tough for our post players."
Second-year forward Kelsey Bone has come on strong lately, scoring 15-plus points in four of five after doing so once in her previous 22. Bone had 18 points and 13 rebounds against Atlanta for her second double-double.
San Antonio’s starting backcourt of Becky Hammon and Danielle Robinson combined for 35 points and 12 assists in a 74-71 win at Connecticut on July 1. Katie Douglas scored 25 for the Sun on 10-of-14 shooting while Bone grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds.