clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dallas Wings defeat a super team in the New York Liberty, 98-88

The Dallas Wings are the only team in the WNBA to beat both the New York Liberty and the Las Vegas Aces

Dallas Wings v New York Liberty Photo by Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images

With a complete team win over the New York Liberty, 98-88, the Dallas Wings are the only team in the WNBA to defeat both the Liberty and the defending champion Las Vegas Aces this season.

“When you have a team that has done that, the only team in the league shows this team what they’re capable of,” Wings head coach Latricia Trammell said. “It gives them confidence going into the next game and the one after that.”

Trammell also said protecting the basketball was an important element in winning. That’s exactly what occurred as her team tied the WNBA record for the fewest turnovers (2) in a game. Both turnovers came early in the first quarter, and it was smooth sailing since.

“That’s elite, the first game back from All-Star. We had one practice as a full team,” said All-Star guard Arike Ogunbowale.

Dallas led 86-72 with 6:02 left in the fourth before New York scored five straight to get to within single digits. From that point on. Dallas was locked in and put New York away.

“I think we were locked in, slipped away from us last time we were here,” Ogunbowale said. “It was a big game and they are a top-four team. We wanted to prove a point to ourselves, we really did that.”

Dallas forced 13 turnovers and converted them into 20 points, accounting for nearly a fifth of their production. Their refusal to be denied in the paint played a tremendous factor in the win, outscoring the Liberty 50-36 in the paint, 19-3 in second-chance points, and 13-5 in fast break points. This is what sheer will looks like. Trammell’s group just wanted it more and the numbers never lie.

In the game that ended the Liberty's four-game winning streak, Breanna Stewart scored 25 points.

Ogunbowale led Dallas with 25 points, scoring 10 in a pivotal third quarter where her team outscored New York, 29-16. She also had five rebounds and four assists with zero turnovers. Her average of 4.7 assists ranks 11th in the league and first on the team. This was her 12th game scoring 20+ points this season. She has the second-most 20+ point games in the league this season alongside Napheesa Collier, Breanna Stewart, and Jewell Lloyd. Her average of 4.7 assists ranks her 11th in the league and first on the team.

Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu dropped 19 points in the first half, carrying the Liberty to a 51-49 heading into the locker room. Her line in the second half? Three points in 14 minutes of play and the ever-present Satou Sabally was responsible.

“At halftime, O [Odyssey] said who was going to stop Sabrina and Satou said ‘me’, stated Ogunbowale when asked about the defensive effort on Ionescu in the second half. “Her length at the three position is tough for anyone to shoot over and Sabrina is a great shooter.”

Sabally’s team-first mentality has served Dallas well, playing a major factor in the outcome of games whether she’s dropping 25 or 10.

In today’s win, Sabally had 15 points on 30.8 percent from the field (4-13 FG) while tallying six rebounds, a career-tying seven assists, and two steals.

The proof is in the tweet. There have been several games this season where Sabally’s shot wasn’t falling yet still made an impact on the game. In the win over the Aces, Sabally had 10 points on 4-for-10 but finished with five rebounds, five assists, and five steals, generating extra possessions aplenty. It all starts with her rim drives, a dominating presence as an initiator at 6’4” looking over guards, and possessing the ability to handle the rock is a key cog in Dallas’ process.

Teaira McCowan recorded her fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

“She’s one of the best in the league,” said Trammell on McCowan’s consistency on both ends. “You know, showing her, celebrating the success that she has, letting her see the positiveness and impact she brings to this team offensively and defensively. So, staying positive with her and I just tell her to have fun, and she’s been doing that.”

“We have a lot of pieces, long pieces. We’ve got Awak. She played a great game, probably her best of the season. We’ve got Satou [Sabally], Natasha [Howard]. All the wings. Then having Veronica [Burton], Odyssey [Sims], and Crystal [Dangerfield] who can get up and pressure anyone. Myself and Big T in the paint, Kalani [Brown]. Then Maddy [Siegrist] coming off the bench. She always gives us good minutes. As a team, we’re playing very unselfishly right now, so it's very scary for the league,” said Ogunbowale on the roll her team is on.

As a unit, this team is having fun and it shows. There are several players on this roster with the ability to drop 25 points at the drop of a hat. What separates championship contenders from pretenders is knowing when to turn it on and off in a collaborative effort where everyone will get theirs. That’s been Dallas’ MO through the last 10 games, and they’ve transformed overnight by simply buying into this principle.

Next up for the Wings: the Los Angeles Sparks. With an 0-3 record against the Sparks, Dallas looks to get over the hump and extend the winning streak to five games.