By: Anthony Miller
After two losses on the road, returning home was exactly what the Dallas Wings needed as they defeated the Phoenix Mercury 84-79 Wednesday night.
Phoenix appeared to have control of the game for the most part as they held on to the lead for a good portion of the contest. What made the difference was in the fourth quarter where the Wings defense stepped up allowing just 11 points in the quarter. That opened an opportunity for the offense to rack up 19 points to take the five-point win at home.
Satou Sabally was the star of the game again for Dallas, scoring a team-high 24 points and ten rebounds. It’s the fifth game Sabally has recorded a double-double for the Wings. Arike Ogunbowale, despite having a season-low in points, played better with 17 points, four rebounds, and two assists including a key layup late in the fourth quarter to give Dallas a lead that they never gave up again.
The story in this game though was the play of two players on Dallas that has not garnered as much attention as Sabally, Ogunbowale, and Natasha Howard. Kalani Brown had a season-high in points (17) and rebounds (15) playing almost 30 minutes for the Wings. Dallas’ first-round pick this year Maddy Siegrist also had a career-high in points (14) and rebounds (eight) as she played almost 19 minutes which is the highest on the season.
This game featured Mercury star Brittney Griner who played in her home state of Texas for the first time since her release from a Russian prison six months ago. Griner finished the game with a team-high 24 points and four rebounds. Diana Taurasi scored 19 points, seven assists, and six rebounds in the loss.
Wednesday night marked the end of a two-game losing streak for Dallas putting them over .500 once again as their record stands at 4-3 on the season. Other marks to make note of include Dallas being 3-0 at home this season and being 3-0 in the Commissioner’s Cup. They are one of two teams that are undefeated in the Commissioner’s Cup with the Las Vegas Aces being the other.
How Did Dallas Snap the Losing Streak
There was one obvious reason the Dallas Wings got a nice win at home: rebounding. They showed a ton of hustle getting the basketball off the boards as they outrebounded the Mercury 50-26. Dallas got 15 offensive rebounds compared to Phoenix who had just four offensive rebounds. The Wings’ biggest challenge was competing against former Baylor Bear Griner who is usually a post presence, but only got four rebounds in the loss.
Sabally was incredible for Dallas Wednesday night posting another double-double and helping the Wings to another win. She can do it all for Dallas whether it’s shooting the ball or getting in the paint for rebounds, she has been reliable for the Wings. Another strong performance from her must not only get her a spot on the WNBA All-Star team but put her in the conversation for league MVP.
Two nice surprises from the game were the play of Brown and Siegrist who played well for Dallas. Brown has continuously played better and better since being re-signed by the team just a week ago. She dominated on the boards with 15 rebounds and played aggressively in the game. The game also saw Siegrist as she seemed to put it all together as a pro. She contributed five of the team’s 15 offensive rebounds as she showed urgency in grabbing the boards. Despite playing star players like Griner and Taurasi, the moment wasn’t too big for her.
Arike Ogunbowale has been one of the main scorers on the team and has put up more shots than any other player on the Wings. After shooting just 26 percent from the floor the last two games, Ogunbowale bounced back nicely shooting 40 percent from the floor. While 17 points is a season-low for her, it was encouraging to see her shot selection improve as well as seeing her pass the ball and grab rebounds. She didn’t flash on the stat sheet, but it was one of her more complete games of the season.
Upcoming for the Dallas Wings
The Wings will remain home as they will once again play the Phoenix Mercury at 7:00 pm CST. Dallas will go into the game with a 4-3 record while Phoenix finds themselves with a 1-4 record to start the season. It’s an important game for Dallas as they try to stay afloat in the standings as they are currently sitting in fifth place in the league standings.
For Dallas, the key to winning the game is to continue to outrebound the Mercury and make sure Griner is being contested on every board. They will need to do a better job defending the three-point area as Mercury guard Sophie Cunningham found success in the game hitting four of her eight three-pointers. Dallas would love to see more players get into double digits in points as they had four players with more than ten points in the game.
Featured Image via Twitter (@DallasWings)