With a month left in the regular season, the Atlanta Dream and host Los Angeles Sparks will square off Saturday with each looking to improve their standing in the playoff race.
The Dream (15-14) enter the weekend tied with the Dallas Wings for the fourth-best record in the WNBA, but they've lost six of their past nine games. The current sixth, seventh and eighth seeds are all within three games of Atlanta.
The Sparks (11-18) have work to do to muscle their way into the eight-team field. They are currently the first team on the outside looking in, but they are coming off consecutive road wins over Washington and Indiana.
In an 87-80 win over the Fever on Tuesday, Nneka Ogwumike put up 20 points and 11 rebounds, Layshia Clarendon had 17 points and Karlie Samuelson added 13. The Sparks rallied from a seven-point hole with 6:26 to play and scored 23 of the game's final 32 points.
Jordin Canada had 10 points and seven assists to help Los Angeles' cause. The point guard is second on the team in scoring at 13.3 points per game, trailing only Ogwumike's 19.8 clip, and ranks fifth in the WNBA in assists (6.0 per game) and second in steals (1.9).
It's Canada's second season playing for her hometown team.
"I put in a lot of work in the offseason just trying to find that confidence that I had while I was at UCLA and trusting the process and what I did in the offseason," Canada told the "Locked on Women's Basketball" podcast. "And then soon as the season started, I kind of just float into that. And I've been confident ever since of feeling like my old self again."
In Atlanta's most recent game, Thursday against the Seattle Storm, the Dream couldn't capitalize on an off night for league-leading scorer Jewell Loyd (5-of-20 shooting, 19 points) and blew a 15-point fourth-quarter lead en route to a 68-67 loss. They were outscored 21-7 in the final period.
"Every night is a hard night, at least for us," Dream coach Tanisha Wright said. "So we have to have that mindset that we gotta come in here and we gotta outwork them. We can't be outworked. And we have to focus on ourselves, quite frankly. There's areas for us to get better in and areas that we need to grow in that we need to start putting attention to."
Allisha Gray and Rhyne Howard each average 17.7 points per game to lead the Dream.
—Field Level Media