The Dallas Wings attempt to clinch a playoff berth when they face the Indiana Fever on Friday night in Indianapolis.
It is the first of back-to-back games between the teams. The rematch is Sunday afternoon in Dallas.
The Wings (19-16) will be the fourth team to punch a playoff ticket if they win on Friday.
Dallas forward Satou Sabally injured an ankle during a loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Aug. 22. She missed the past two games but was listed by the team as probable against the Fever.
Sabally ranks second on the Wings in scoring (17.8 points per game) and rebounding (8.4).
However, forward Natasha Howard (16.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg) was placed in health and safety protocol and ruled out for Friday.
Dallas recorded a 77-74 road win over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday to halt a two-game slide.
“Obviously, we don’t have Satou, who’s a big part, but everybody stepped up,” said Wings star Arike Ogunbowale, who scored 29 points. “Even though it was a rough, ugly win, it’s a win, so that’s gonna be playoff basketball.”
Ogunbowale ranks fifth in the WNBA in scoring at 20.9 points per game.
Ogunbowale scored 14 of her 28 points in the fourth quarter when Dallas edged host Indiana 77-76 on July 9 in the season’s first meeting.
The Fever (11-24) have won a season-best three straight games and were still mathematically alive for a playoff spot entering Thursday’s play.
Indiana won 83-73 at Phoenix on Aug. 20 and then posted consecutive home wins over the Seattle Storm (90-86) and Atlanta Dream (83-80).
“I think we all know where the standings are. I mean, we’re living today,” Fever coach Christie Sides said. “We’ve got to win come Friday for us to keep moving forward. … Keep fighting, keep doing the little things, keep growing as a team.”
Kristy Wallace led the way in Saturday’s win over Atlanta by establishing career highs of 20 points and six 3-pointers. The Australian had totaled 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting over the previous four games.
Star rookie Aliyah Boston is nursing a right thumb injury and is listed as questionable. She was injured in the third quarter against Atlanta and departed the contest. Boston is averaging 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds.
Indiana’s Lexie Hull (shoulder) will miss her fourth straight game.
–Field Level Media