By: Anthony Miller
College Park Center was a witness to franchise history as the Dallas Wings swept the Atlanta Dream Tuesday night 101-74.
The first quarter was a seesaw back-and-forth contest between the two teams as it would be the Atlanta Dream holding the 24-23 lead. Atlanta would end up hitting a wall on offense and that wall was the Dallas Wings defense. The Wings outscored the Dream 29-10 in the second quarter thanks to strong performances from Arike Ogunbowale (nine points) and Awak Kuier (seven points). Dallas went into halftime with a 52-34 lead.
Defense continued to be the story in the third quarter for Dallas allowing 16 points from the Dream. Teaira McCowan shined in the third quarter with six points, six rebounds, and two blocked shots. Dallas had a total of four blocked shots in the quarter as well.
The fourth quarter was all about the bench of Dallas keeping their feet on the pedal. Dallas scored 31 total points in the quarter. Kalani Brown was the star of the quarter scoring ten points and two rebounds off the bench for the team. By the final quarter, it was all but over as the Wings pulled off a 27-point win over the Dream 101-74.
Dallas made playoff history as the first WNBA team in the playoffs to have seven players in double-digit points. For the franchise, it is the first time they have scored over 100 points in a playoff game since 2007. Most importantly, it’s the first time since the franchise moved to Dallas that advanced in the playoffs winning the series 2-0 against Atlanta. It’s also the franchise’s first time since 2009 they advanced in the playoffs.
Reviewing Dallas Wings’ Clean Sweep
The aspect that stands out is how the team shot the ball and scored offensively. Dallas was so efficient offensively shooting 52.6 percent from the field and converting on 85.7 percent of their free throws. Their offense was able to get the lead to as high as 27 points which is where they ended up for the game.
It’s uncommon to see a team that has seven players score more than ten points in a game. Every starter had over ten points and key bench players like Kuier (13 points) and Brown (12 points) were part of it as well.
Ogunbowale ended up the leading scorer with 20 points shooting 46.7 percent from the field. With stretches of the game that saw her take over as a scorer and passer, Dallas Wings head coach Latricia Trammell believes it’s just business as usual for her.
“That’s Arike. That’s what she does. I mean, she’s a competitor, but she’s one that’s been in those big moments. She strives for it, and it’s crucial for and like I said, I’ve said this before, but underrated defender, she is a great defender. Took the challenge of Howard and switched off in the second half a little bit on Gray, but not in this position without her.”
Ogunbowale added seven assists and two rebounds in the game as well. For her, similar to coach Trammell’s sentiment, it’s just another day at the office for Ogunbowale.
“Just playing basketball, I wasn’t really thinking much. Just being aggressive, playing my game and trying to execute however I could.”
One other key to the Wings winning is their defense and how dominant they were in the paint. Dallas had nine steals and seven blocks while adding 29 team defensive rebounds. A big part of that was McCowan who finished with 12 points, 16 rebounds, and two blocked shots in the game. McCowan gave credit to her team for helping her succeed.
“It’s credit to my teammates. They put me in the best position possible and I just go out and get every rebound and they’d be challenging me to go get rebounds. So, I just go out there and do it. And I also like rebounding.”
The most touching and telling moment of this game was how impactful it was for the individuals involved and what it meant to them. During the press conference, coach Trammell was emotionally reflecting on her journey to the Dallas Wings. Coach Trammell spoke about her family tearfully and who she thought about throughout the contest.
“Think about my mom and dad, my brother that I lost. Biggest supporters. Thought about them a lot during this game. I know they’re extremely proud.”
Dallas has a little bit of time off before they head out to Las Vegas on Sunday for game one of the WNBA Semifinals against the Las Vegas Aces. Tip-off for game one is at 4:00 pm CST on ESPN2.
Featured Image via X (@DallasWings)