Both the Chicago Sky (7-8) and the Seattle Storm (7-6) could be said to be mired in disappointing seasons.
Although a drop-off was certainly predictable for the Storm this season after last season's historic run to the WNBA Finals, the way they've struggled has been perplexing at times thus far this season. But the Sky were supposed to be headed in the opposite direction this season, finally making the playoffs for the first time in the franchise's history.
They're right in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race at fourth place, but they've been inconsistent at times due to young talent, perhaps adjusting to a new coach, and a rather serious turnover problem, as described by Kevin Pelton of StormBasketball.com.
Despite all the young talent, Chicago is still a below-average offensive team. Turnovers have been a prime culprit. The Sky turns the ball over 18.5 times per game, tops in the WNBA. The team also lacks a reliable third scorer beyond Fowles and Prince. Vandersloot is third on the team in scoring at 8.7 points per game. That player was to have been former All-Star Shameka Christon, but Chicago opted to save a roster spot by waiving Christon when she suffered a knee injury late in training camp.
However, defense has been their strength and WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week Sylvia Fowles anchors that in the post, helping the Sky reach first in the WNBA in blocks and fifth in steals. For a Storm team that sometimes has a problem with settling for jumpers and committing turnovers, Fowles could end up being a much larger problem defensively than offensively.
With both teams fighting to establish themselves as playoff teams, the Storm's ability to remain aggressive despite the Sky's formidable post presence will be key.