The final weekend of the WNBA regular season is all about pride for the Indiana Fever and New York Liberty.
Looking to avoid a third straight defeat, the visiting Fever try to extend the Liberty's losing streak to six games Friday night.
While New York (9-23) will miss the playoffs for a second consecutive year, Indiana (11-21) won't be part of the postseason party for a third straight season. These teams opened what each felt could be a promising campaign back on May 24, with the Fever winning 81-80 at the Westchester County Center on rookie Teaira McCowan's buzzer-beating layup.
The teams split the next two meetings, and McCowan has blossomed into one of the few bright spots this season for Indiana. The third overall pick in this year's draft, the 6-foot-7 McCowan has averaged 20.5 points and 14.3 rebounds while recording four consecutive double-doubles.
That stretch tied Tamika Catchings' club record by a rookie. With 283 rebounds, McCowan has a chance to break the team rookie mark of 303 set by Erlana Larkins in 2014.
"It feels good. I'm not thinking about what I am supposed to being next. I'm just playing basketball," McGowan, who had 12 points with 11 rebounds in Sunday's 81-73 loss at Minnesota, told the Fever's official website last month. "It's a trust thing that my teammates and my coaching staff trust me to get a bucket or get a stop on defense as a rookie."
McCowan had 24 points with eight rebounds during an 82-76 home loss against New York on Aug. 18.Unfortunately for the Liberty, that is their only victory over the last 14 games.
They're losing streak since that triumph reached five with Tuesday's 93-77 loss to Washington. New York has lost its last four games by an average margin of 17 points, and yielded at least 90 points in each contest during the five-game slide.
Rookie Marine Johannes has been one of the positives for the Liberty of late, totaling 43 points on 16-of-26 shooting in the last two games. She's also gone 8 of 15 from 3-point range in those contests.
Playing the final game of 2019 at its Westchester residence, New York will try to avoid an eighth straight home defeat.
The Liberty conclude the season at Atlanta on Sunday. Indiana, meanwhile, finishes with a home game versus playoff-bound Connecticut the same day.
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