The Dallas Wings look to strengthen their playoff position when they host the rugged Las Vegas Aces on Thursday night in Arlington, Texas.
The Wings (14-16) begin a four-game homestand after winning back-to-back games on the road, most recently an 84-78 victory over league-leading Chicago on Tuesday. Dallas is among six teams battling for the final three spots in the postseason.
Marina Mabrey led the Wings in Tuesday’s win with a season-best 26 points while Teaira McCowan racked up 20 points and 12 rebounds for her third straight double-double. Kayla Thornton added 11 points as the Wings won consecutive games for the first time since June 17 and 19.
Dallas’ leading scorer Arike Ogunbowale missed the game with an ankle injury. Her availability for Thursday’s contest will be a game-time decision.
Veronica Burton made her first career start in Ogunbowale’s absence and dished nine assists. She also canned four free throws in the final five minutes, remaining perfect from the line this season.
As a team, the Wings converted all 12 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
McCowan continues to be a key to the Wings’ playoff push.
“We want to play inside-out, but definitely when ‘Big T’ is in the game, we want to put the ball in the post,” Dallas coach Vickie Johnson said. “We want to put it inside and let it happen and let her get the other team in foul trouble.”
The Aces (22-9) have clinched a playoff spot but still have plenty on the line. Las Vegas is one game behind Chicago for the league’s best record and just one game up on Connecticut. The top two teams earn a first-round bye in the playoffs, so every game is crucial.
Tuesday’s 83-73 loss at Washington snapped the Aces’ four-game winning streak. A’ja Wilson had 22 points and 12 rebounds, Chelsea Gray added 20 points and Kelsey Plum had 15 in the defeat. The Las Vegas bench was outscored 25-5 by the Mystics’ reserves.
“I thought they just took us out of our stuff, and the ball just didn’t move the way we needed it to,” Aces coach Becky Hammon said. “We just have to play together as a unit, offensively.”
The Aces are 2-0 against the Wings this season, winning 84-78 in Las Vegas on June 5 and 92-84 on the road on June 15.
–Field Level Media