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Sparks-Sky Preview

Jul 15, 2010 - 3:31 PM By MATT BEARDMORE STATS Writer

Los Angeles (5-13) at Chicago (9-11), 8:30 p.m. EDT

The Chicago Sky have never advanced to the postseason. A favorable schedule over the final five weeks of the season could change that.

Chicago looks to build off the franchise's most lopsided victory Friday when it hosts a Los Angeles Sparks team coming off its first road win of the year.

The Sky (9-11), who debuted in 2006, are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, trailing Connecticut by 2 1/2 games for the fourth and final playoff spot. Chicago set a team record for largest margin of victory with an 88-61 rout of visiting San Antonio on Wednesday, avoiding a third straight loss.

"We want to stay consistent, this is just one game," said guard Jia Perkins, one of three Chicago players to score a team-high 14 points. "We have 14 more to go and we need to win most of them. Our main focus right now is to win games and get this playoff run."

Seven of Chicago's remaining games are against the West. Only Seattle - a league-best 17-2 - has a winning record in that conference.

Los Angeles (5-13) was expected to challenge for the WNBA title this season after pushing eventual champion Phoenix to three games in last season's West finals, but those chances essentially disappeared when 2008 MVP and Chicago-area native Candace Parker suffered a dislocated shoulder June 13.

The Sparks dropped six of seven following Parker's injury before snapping a seven-game road losing streak Tuesday by defeating league-worst Tulsa 87-71. Los Angeles held the Shock to 30 points in the second half to record its first road victory since Sept. 13 versus the Mercury.

"I think it was our defense that made a difference," Sparks center Tina Thompson said after scoring a team-best 24 points with six rebounds.

Parker was averaging a double-double with 20.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game before her season-ending injury, forcing Los Angeles to lean more on Thompson. The 13-year veteran is second to Parker with 13.8 points and 5.9 boards per game.

The Sparks, who play six of their next seven on the road, fell to 3-1 all-time in Chicago with a 75-63 loss on July 29.

Sky center Sylvia Fowles scored 13 points and had seven rebounds in that game, but she missed a 75-63 loss to the host Sparks on Aug. 25 due to a sprained right ankle.

Los Angeles has won six of eight all-time versus Chicago.

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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

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