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Game has personal, playoff implications for Sky’s Tamera Young

Seattle Storm's TanishWright center takes running leap shoot as Chicago Sky's TamerYoung left SwCash defend during first half WNBA basketball

Seattle Storm's Tanisha Wright, center, takes a running leap to shoot as Chicago Sky's Tamera Young, left, and Swin Cash defend during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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Updated: September 24, 2013 6:38AM

Sky forward Tamera Young’s tattoos say it all.

‘‘My tattoos, they tell a story,’’ she said.

A pink ribbon spells ‘‘Hope’’ on the inside of her arm in honor of her aunt, Patricia Nichols, a breast cancer survivor, and her grandmother, Massie Young, who died of breast cancer when Tamera was 9.

Young, who is the Sky’s spokeswoman for the Breast Health Awareness Game on Friday against the New York Liberty, said the game brings her full circle because Nichols, a Liberty season-ticket holder, inspired her WNBA dreams as a child.

‘‘She used to take me to the Liberty games, and that’s when I fell in love with it,’’ Young said. ‘‘We always had that connection.’’

Nichols will be among the crowd at Allstate Arena watching as the conference-leading Sky (18-8) tries to clinch the first playoff spot in franchise history.

Young said she’s excited about the opportunity.

‘‘I can’t say how it will feel because we’ve never done it,’’ she said. ‘‘This has been a goal for us for many years, and actually being this close to doing it, it’s already a great feeling.’’

The Sky has outscored the Liberty 420-329 over five victories this season.

‘‘With this league, we have to throw out all those games we played prior and see where the teams are now,’’ coach Pokey Chatman said. ‘‘The key is for us to put together a complete game. No more of those start hot, go cold and come back. We need to play at a high level for 40 minutes.’’

Young said the Sky knows what to expect from the Liberty (10-15) and where it has to improve.

‘‘Communication is one of our big things defensively,’’ she said. ‘‘We know that New York tries to push in transition, so just talking and playing our game on the offensive end will be key.’’

The Sky returned to full offensive potential Tuesday when All-Star rookie Elena Delle Donne scored 24 points in a 79-73 win at Washington after missing two games with a sprained left ankle. That clinched the Sky’s first winning season and improved its road record to 8-6, best in the WNBA.


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