CHICAGO – It’s not the position they would have ideally liked to be, since they missed a shot to punch their ticket to the WNBA Finals on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.

But that’s in the past now for the defending league champions, because their season rides on what happens on Thursday night at Wintrust Arena.

At least the Chicago Sky know what they’re up against in a contest that’s both an elimination and a closeout game.

For the second time in the WNBA Playoffs, they’re facing that prospect, having done so against the Liberty in their best-of-three first round series. They’ll face the Sun in Game 5 of the semifinals at 7 PM at Wintrust Arena, with the winner earning the right to face the Aces in the league championship series.

It marks the first time the Sky have ever played in a Game 5 in a WNBA playoff series, having only faced “win-or-go-home” games in single elimination or three-game series. The Sky are 10-6 all-time in those contests, including the 90-72 win in Game 3 against the Liberty on August 23th.

In the semifinals, it’s been a back-and-forth battle between the defending champions and the Sun, who lost all four games to the Sky in the regular season. Connecticut captured Game 1 at Wintrust Arena before Chicago won the next two to give themselves a chance to win the series on Tuesday.

The Sun had other plans in Game 4 and came up with a dominating effort in a 104-80 win on their home floor Tuesday evening to set up this Game 5 showdown.

For head coach James Wade, who will be on the sideline for his seventh “win-or-go-home” game as the Sky’s head coach, there is a certain mentality that he values in situations like this.

“You take it as a challenge. As somebody in the sport world, you want challenges and being able to knock them down and pushing your limits. So we just take it as it is,” said Wade. “We’ve known for two days now that we’re going to be in a Game 5 and we just focus on the positives and how we can get to the next level.

“I think that’s the only thing you can do, and just understand that the team in front of us is going to be as hungry as we are because we’re both fighting for our lives. Both teams are on their ninth life and so we just have to go out there and battle.”

Just as the Sky have done a number of times over the past 12 months, doing so to win won title and in pursuit of another.