10:00 PM ET, August 17, 2013
Key Arena, Seattle, WA
Already playing without one of their top scorers, the injury-plagued Indiana Fever might be down another starter as they try to end a losing streak for the first time in almost two months.The injury-plagued defending WNBA champs attempt to avoid their third straight loss Saturday night when they seek their fifth consecutive win against the Seattle Storm.The Fever (11-13) did not begin a stretch with seven of eight on the road the way they had hoped, dropping their second straight with a 94-72 loss at Los Angeles on Friday.Tamika Catchings and Erin Phillips led Indiana with 16 points apiece. Phillips has averaged 15.0 points while shooting 12 for 17 from 3-point range in her last three games.While the Fever have won 10 of 16 following a season-worst seven-game losing streak, they've dropped consecutive contests for the first time since that skid to open this three-game trip.Indiana, which leads New York by one game for the final playoff spot in the East, may have to play without starting guard Karima Christmas after she went down with a left hip injury late in the third quarter Friday. She's averaging 10.9 points over her last seven games."One of the things that's affecting us right now is the number of games we had to play with eight people," coach Lin Dunn said. "We played so many of those guys -- Karima in particular -- 35-36 minutes. I think it's starting to take a little bit of a toll on us."Backcourt mate Shavonte Zellous, who averages 15.0 points per game, is also uncertain after missing three games with plantar fasciitis. She had a memorable last trip to Seattle (10-13), hitting a three-pointer just before time expired as the Fever rallied for a 68-66 victory Aug. 23, 2012.Catchings had 18 points and 11 rebounds in that meeting and 18 and six, respectively, in a 71-63 home win over the Storm on June 30.Although the Fever rank near the bottom of the league with 69.3 ppg, they've limited opponents to a WNBA-best 69.4. They hardly resembled an elite defense against the high-scoring Sparks, however, allowing a season-high point total on 63.2 percent shooting.Indiana, though, appears to have a good chance to regroup against the Storm, one of the league's lowest scoring teams (69.8 ppg). Since averaging 78.3 points during a 3-1 stretch, they've scored 63.7 per contest while dropping two of three.Seattle hopes to bounce back after getting outscored 32-6 in the fourth quarter and blowing a 16-point, second-half lead in a 79-66 home loss to Chicago on Thursday. The Storm are two games ahead of San Antonio for the West's final playoff spot."We're a team that has to rely on its intangibles -- the toughness and focus and concentration and persistence," Seattle coach Brian Agler told the team's official website. "All those terms we use about mentally tough and physically tough teams -- that's who we have to be."Guard Tanisha Wright led the Storm with 20 points and is averaging 15.8 over her last four games.Teammate Shekinna Stricklen added 16 to reach double figures for the fourth time in five games. She had a team-high 11 points in the June loss at Indiana.