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Playoff-bound Wings seek home-court advantage, face Fever

Jul 22, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Wings forward Satou Sabally (0) drives to the basket past Los Angeles Sparks guard Layshia Clarendon (25) during the second quarter at College Park Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Wings will look to move closer to guaranteeing a home playoff game when they square off against the visiting Indiana Fever on Sunday afternoon in Arlington, Texas.

The game is the second of a home-and-home series between the teams, with Dallas posting a 110-100 victory on Friday in Indianapolis. The Wings clinched a playoff berth for the third straight season with the win.

Dallas (20-16) remains in fourth place in the league standings with four games to play in the regular season. All four of those contests will be over the next eight days, with three at home against Indiana, New York and Seattle before a final game in Atlanta on Sept. 10.

While the Wings cannot move up in the standings, they need to win twice or two combined losses by Minnesota, Washington and Atlanta to clinch the final home playoff seed.

On Friday in its win, Dallas was led by ascending star Satou Sabally’s 40 points and seven 3-pointers, both career highs. Arike Ogunbowale added 25 points and hit five threes for the Wings. A Sabally basket at the third-quarter buzzer gave Dallas an 80-77 lead and set the table for a stirring final period.

The Wings remain one of just four teams in the WNBA with a winning record and hold the fourth seed in the upcoming WNBA playoffs.

“It’s an exciting time, but it’s not over,” Wings coach Latricia Trammell said after the win. “We’re going to enjoy this, though. We still have a lot more work to do. I’m so proud of them.

“I tell you what — Satou came up big for us. She was huge for us.”

Indiana got 27 points and 11 rebounds from Aliyah Boston in its loss. Kelsey Mitchell scored 25 points, NaLyssa Smith tacked up 18 points and 11 rebounds, Kristy Wallace added 14 points and Erica Wheeler had 12 points and 10 assists for the Fever.

Indiana’s loss on Friday snapped a season-best three-game winning streak and eliminated it from the postseason, marking the seventh straight year the Fever (11-25) will not make the playoffs.

Fever coach Christie Sides told her players afterward that the 2023 season was “about just getting this franchise, getting this organization, back where it was.

“And that’s what we were doing this year, setting some standards. We put ourselves in a position to stay in (the playoffs) up until tonight. We never gave in. We always played hard, played tough.”

The team’s 11 wins this year are as many as the past two seasons combined and its most since it had 13 victories in 2019.

–Field Level Media

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