San Antonio looks for first win against Chicago

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Two teams, 28 games, three wins combined.

That is the bottom line that will be a huge part of the story when the San Antonio Stars and the Chicago Sky square off for the second time in three weeks on Friday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

The Sky (3-11) have all three of those wins and sit above only winless San Antonio at the bottom of the WNBA standings. The first time these two teams played -- on June 10 in San Antonio -- Allie Quigley hit back-to-back 3-pointers and scored nine of her 16 points in overtime to propel Chicago past the Stars 85-81.

Chicago has lost four of the five games it has played since the last time these two teams faced each other, including two straight home setbacks to Indiana and Washington, respectively. The Sky head to San Antonio on the heels of an 82-75 defeat against the Fever on Wednesday that dropped them to 0-7 at home.

The Sky got a game-high 22 points from Jessica Breland in the loss to Indiana, while Cappie Pondexter added 13 points and Imani Boyette hit 12 points and took 10 rebounds.

"After a tough loss, you've got to think about a lot of things," Pondexter said. "You've got to make sure that the next day, the energy changes. You've got to come in with the mindset of staying positive and just keep working hard. At the end of the day, hard work always pays off."

Maybe getting away from home will help turn things around. Chicago is 3-4 on the road, including its latest win, an 82-78 victory in Atlanta last Friday.

"In our shoes, every game feels the same," Chicago coach Amber Stocks said. "The approach, the mentality, the outlook, it feels the same."

San Antonio (0-14) has played better of late, taking leads deep into the fourth quarter before defensive breakdowns at the end proved too much to overcome. Such was the case in the Stars' most recent outing, an 87-78 loss at league-leading Minnesota in which San Antonio held a 64-55 advantage with less than nine minutes to play.

Moriah Jefferson scored 19 points to lead the Stars in the defeat. Kayla McBride added 17 points and Isabelle Harrison had 13 points and nine rebounds for San Antonio, which has lost 16 straight games dating back to last season.

The worst start to a season in WNBA history is 0-17 by Atlanta in 2008, and the league record for consecutive losses is 20 by Tulsa in 2011. The Stars have lost 13 consecutive home games dating back to last July, extending the WNBA mark for successive home-game futility with each defeat.

"At this point, we've lost so many in a row, I think everybody's just anxious to get a win," Jefferson said. "In order for us to get that win, we have to stay mentally focused throughout the entire game. Every single game we've had a lapse, maybe six or seven minutes, when we're just not there. And we can't win like that."

The biggest news of the season for San Antonio came on Wednesday when it traded veteran forward Monique Currie to Phoenix for guard Shay Murphy, forward Sophie Brunner and the Mercury's 2018 third-round pick to the Stars.

Currie, a 12-year WNBA veteran, spent the 2015 season in Phoenix as a starter. She averaged 11.8 points per game for San Antonio (her highest scoring average since 2012) and is shooting 43.4 percent from the field, including 35.9 percent from 3-point range.