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Sky try to keep playoff hopes alive vs. Sun

There's still a playoff heartbeat for the Chicago Sky.

Slight, but it's still there.

"We still have a shot," Courtney Vandersloot said after the Sky ended the Connecticut Sun's franchise-record five-game winning streak with a wire-to-wire 97-86 home victory in the first half of a home-and-home set Friday night.

"We're going to keep going until the wheels fall off."

By winning and ending a two-game losing streak, the Sky (11-19) are within three games of the final playoff spot with four games remaining.

The teams meet again Sunday in Uncasville, Conn., with the Sun, who have already clinched a playoff berth, still having designs on moving up to a better seed.

Connecticut has its last four games at home at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

"We've now checked that box," Sun coach and general manager Curt Miller said after his team clinched with a win on Wednesday night at Dallas. "You can't talk about advancing in the playoffs or the semifinals or finals, you can't talk about anything until you make it."

The Sun missed a sixth straight win Friday night and face the Sky before visits by the Dallas Wings on Tuesday, the Minnesota Lynx on Friday and Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday. Minnesota and Los Angeles have clinched playoff berths.

"With this tight race for the playoffs -- just a few weeks ago, it was a mad dash for us and whether we could squeeze in or would we be the odd team out -- we're excited to know that we're back in it," Miller said. "Now, there is a determination to try and go get the best seed we can and, hopefully, that will equate to a home game opportunity."

Friday's loss left them tied for fifth, a game out of fourth and two out of third. They still have a mathematical shot at second, which is 3 1/2 games away. However, the Sun and Lynx were also a half-game out of the seventh spot.

The top two seeds in the standings get byes into the semifinals. Nos. 3 and 4 automatically advance to the second round, where they will meet the winners of the 5/8 and 6/7 games.

Vandersloot scored 20 points and had a career-high 15 assists Friday as the Sky took the lead early and held off several rushes by a Sun team that looked tired from being on the road.

"We just made some big plays down the stretch," said Vandersloot, who told the television audience at halftime that the Sun would charge in the second half and the young Sky would have to hold off those charges.

The Sun closed within three points early in the fourth quarter but could get no closer as Chicago evened the season series at 1-1 heading into Sunday's rubber match.
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