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Wings seek home breakthrough vs. rising Mercury

Apr 21, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi works out during training camp at Verizon 5G Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Cheryl Evans/The Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK
Credit: The Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Dallas Wings look to find some success at home when they host the suddenly roused Phoenix Mercury on Friday in a Western Conference game in Arlington, Texas.

The Wings have dropped four straight games, the last three at home, including a 92-84 setback on Wednesday to league-leading Las Vegas. Dallas was up by as many as 16 points in the first half before the Aces rallied with a huge third-quarter run. The Wings were within a bucket halfway through the fourth but could not push through.

Dallas was outscored 31-16 in a ragged third quarter and by 17 in the second half, losing despite outrebounding the Aces 40-33.

“If we play like we play and put two halves together we’ll be pretty good,” Dallas coach Vickie Johnson said. “But we’re not disciplined right now to put those two halves together defensively and offensively. That’s what we have to do.”

Arike Ogunbowale poured in 28 points for the Wings in the loss, 17 of those in the first half, and Marina Mabrey returned from COVID health and safety protocol to score 18 off the bench. Isabelle Harrison had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Allisha Gray added 10 points for the Wings (6-8). The Wings are just 1-5 at home.

The Mercury head to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex after a 93-80 win over Indiana on Wednesday, their fourth victory in the past five games. Phoenix’s surge followed a seven-game losing streak that included a home loss to Dallas on May 19.

“We’ve been offensively emphasizing sharing the ball and ball movement,” Phoenix coach Vanessa Nygaard said. “That collective commitment of leaning on each other’s strengths, knowing who we are individually, and then knowing what we can do as a team — there’s a change on that side (of the ball).”

Tina Charles seems to finally be healthy and scored a season-high 29 points in Wednesday’s win, with Diana Taurasi adding 17, Diamond DeShields hitting for 16 and Skylar Diggins-Smith contributing 13 points.

–Field Level Media