Dallas Wings Overcome Early Deficit to Beat Atlanta Dream in Game One of WNBA Playoffs

By: Anthony Miller

The Dallas Wings fought back from being down 20 points to take down the Atlanta Dream 94-82 in game one of the first round of the WNBA Playoffs.

Dallas’ first quarter was as tough of a start as the team could have had as Atlanta Dream guard Rhyne Howard started fast with 19 points in the first quarter. The Wings would only score 21 total points as a team in the opening quarter. Atlanta’s offense shot the ball well taking a 36-21 lead heading into the second quarter.

Early in the second quarter, the Dream got off to a 5-0 run to be up by 20 points which was their biggest lead of the game. The Wings, thanks to Arike Ogunbowale and Odyssey Sims, stormed back with an 18-2 run of their own to stay within four points. Dallas hung tough going into halftime tied up at 49-49.

The third quarter saw the Dream staying ahead for most of the quarter but never had a big lead. Dallas was able to respond to Atlanta’s scores throughout the quarter. After three quarters, Dallas was only down 70-67 to the Dream.

It was the fourth quarter when things got out of hand for the Dream as Dallas put the foot on the pedal and never let Atlanta back up. The Wings outscored the Dream 27-12 in the quarter to pull off a game one win 94-82.

Dallas Wings’ Stars of the Game

2023 WNBA Most Improved Player award winner Satou Sabally continued her dominance leading the Wings in points with a franchise playoff record 32. Sabally converted 11 of 20 field goals including going 3-5 from three-point land. She added five rebounds and four assists in the win as well.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a typical Wings game without talking about the importance of Arike Ogunbowale after scoring 24 points while also adding nine rebounds and seven assists. Ogunbowale’s presence and performance Friday night was one of her most complete performances of the season.

Center Teaira McCowan came up big in the paint recording the only double-double of the game. McCowan finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds while adding two assists as well.

One other player to bring up was Sims coming off the bench for the Wings as she performed well in 19 minutes of play. She scored eight points shooting a perfect 2-2 from the three-point line. Sims added three rebounds and three assists in the contest.

How Dallas Wings Pulled Off Incredible Comeback

The first quarter was a struggle defensively to contain Howard who was making every shot she was shooting. Their own shooting for the team was not as strong in the opening quarter for Dallas. They were not able to keep up and play lockdown defense through the first 12-14 minutes of the game.

An underestimated key to the win was Sims coming off the bench for Dallas. She seemed to be doing a lot for the team especially with Natasha Howard having an unusually off game with five points and eight rebounds. Both three-pointers Sims made helped start or build momentum for the Wings so even if it was two shots, they changed the outlook of the game.

A tough argument could be made whether Sabally or Ogunbowale are the better players, but Dallas fans are just happy to have both players play at a high level. Both shot the ball well and carried the load in other areas from rebounding to passing the ball. Ogunbowale in particular was impressive putting a complete performance together.

What’s Next for Dallas Wings

Tuesday night will feature a critical game two matchup with the Atlanta Dream as a win for Dallas will give them a clean sweep and a trip to the next round. It’ll be a second straight home game for Dallas as the metroplex will have their focus on the Wings.

This is an important moment in the franchise’s history as since moving to Dallas in 2016, the Wings have never advanced past the first round of the playoffs. They have lost all four first-round series losing in 2017, 2018, 2021, and 2022. A win would put them in the semi-finals for the first time since being the Tulsa Shock in 2015.

History is on the line for Dallas, but importantly, a trip to the semi-finals is on the line. This has already been the best season in Dallas for the Wings so a win would mean more than fans think. The Wings look like a team of destiny and they hope to continue that into Tuesday and beyond.

Featured Image via X (@WNBA)

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