Arlington Tx – The Dallas Wings are both bruised and battle tested after a very competitive Sunday loss to the defending champion Minnesota Lynx team 76-72.
Both teams had moments of offensive bursts in the first quarter. Maya Moore scored a quick six points for Minnesota and Liz Cambage pulled down three first quarter rebounds to go with her seven points. The initial period ended with the Wings confidently up 18 – 16.
The second quarter was all about Seimone Augustus, as the veteran scored nine points on four made shots out of four attempts. Cambage celebrated her 1,000th career point and upped her point total for the game to 14 points.
Much to the disappointment of Wings fans, Cambage would not return to the game after being poked in the eye in the second quarter.
The Lynx led 40 – 33 at halftime.
“We were really tested in the second half without Liz (Cambage),” says Coach Fred Williams. “I thought we put forth great effort on the defensive end.”
Cambage apparently tried to play through her injury, according to Coach Williams, who doesn’t foresee her missing any additional time. “She’s a tough young lady – she’ll bounce back.”
Despite the eye injury that sidelined Cambage in the second quarter, the Wings showed great resiliency throughout the second half.
To begin the third quarter, the Lynx went on an 8 – 0 run. They grabbed every rebound possible and it looked as if it would be a long second half for the Wings.
On an inspired play, while down 48- 33 Allisha Gray finally got free along the perimeter and put up a long shot. She was fouled and would go on to make her three free throws. Those made free throws would lead to a scoring fury by the Wings. Down 48 – 36, they would go on a 15 to 4 run and draw to within a single point of the Lynx. In total the Wings outscored the Lynx 22 – 16 in the third quarter.
The final quarter began with Minnesota leading just 56 – 55. Skylar Diggins-Smith set the pace for the Wings in the fourth quarter and distributed the ball well, especially to Aerial Powers and a very energetic Kayla Thornton. Dallas never could capture the lead, but found themselves knotted with Minnesota at 70 points with just under three minutes remaining.
Both teams had 16 points contributed from their respective benches, but Maya Moore proved to be too much for the Wings’ defense. Moore scored 26 points, making half of her 20 shot attempts. Diggins-Smith led all Wings’ players with 16 points and seven assists.
Although a very close final quarter kept the home crowd of 4,448 energized, the Lynx defeated the Wings.