The Seattle Storm currently sit in fourth place in the WNBA standings through Sunday's games with one more important regular season game remaining.
Friday, the Storm host the Phoenix Mercury with the Mercury right behind them in the standings and still in contention for a first-round playoff bye.
Seattle struggled without its star power forward Sunday in an 81-53 road loss to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Here are three quick takeaways from Sunday’s loss:
No Breanna Stewart, no consistent scoring
The Storm announced last Friday that Breanna Stewart would miss the final two regular-season games with a left foot injury.
As the league's third-best scorer averaging 20.3 points per game, the Storm managed to only score a season-low 53 points against the Sparks.
Stewart suffered the left foot injury on Sept. 7 against Mystics. The team says she will be reevaluated right before the playoffs tip-off.
Storm center Mercedes Russell will now be called upon more. She finished with six points on 1-of-3 shooting while pulling down five rebounds in the loss.
The Storm will rely on Russell on the other end with Stewart out and Russell’s ability to limit the opponent's second-chance point opportunities.
Epiphanny Prince stepped up
With the Storm’s starting lineup struggling to convert on offense, it was veteran guard Epiphanny Prince to lead the way in the scoring department. Prince finished with 12 points on an efficient 5-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-4 from downtown.
As a team, Seattle shot just 32.1 percent from the floor and just 22.2 percent from three.
The 33-year-old, Prince, also had two steals on the night in 24 minutes of work.
Now the final game of the season could have more meaning
The end of the season schedule favors the Storm as far as getting some much needed rest, but after dropping Sunday’s contest, a first-round bye could be on the line when they host the Mercury on Friday.
Phoenix’s 10-game winning streak came to an end over the weekend following a 76-67 loss to Connecticut.
Looking at the Mercury's tough schedule on the road against the Storm and at home against the Aces, the Mercury could still pass Seattle to secure the first-round bye.