Arlington, Tx – The Dallas Wings were in the lead against the Phoenix Mercury for most of Tuesday night’s competition. In a bizarre turn of late game events – the team suffered its first home loss of the season.
In recent games, point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith has gotten off to quick scoring starts. Tuesday night she was held to just seven first half points and two assists. Forward Kayla Thornton was definitely the aggressor in the first half, throwing her body into just about every offensive and defensive play. Thornton had 10 first half points, made both of her attempts from three-point range, and she even collected six rebounds.
Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner led the Mercury through the first half, scoring 10 and 12 points respectively. While the Wings owned a 10 point first half lead at one point, the first half ended with a score of 40 – 37 to the Wings advantage.
“I thought we did (stay in the moment). We fought through a lot of things,” said Wings coach Fred Williams, “You can only go to the huddle so often and tell them to keep going through it.”
The tale of two halves continues to follow the Wings. In total the second half saw six lead changes. Diggins-Smith returned to her domineering drives to the basket and scored nine second half points. While Thornton and center Liz Cambage only combined for five second half points, the Wings welcomed a very assertive performance by Glory Johnson off of the bench.
We’re just trying to maintain the energy through the entire game,” said Johnson, “The goal is to make more at the end of the game….whatever it might be, we are just hitting that wall at the end of the game.”
Johnson was the recipient of two very well-directed assists from Diggins-Smith that led to late scores. Johnson’s 10 points, aggressive defense and strong rebounding are to be credited for keeping the game close well into the fourth quarter.
Sancho Lyttle and DeWanna Bonner contributed a combined 25 points and 16 rebounds to complete a balanced attack by the Mercury.
Emotions ran high in the close game, and there were indeed questionable calls. Both Diggins-Smith and Griner received second half technical fouls in separate incidents.
Phoenix outscored Dallas 24-13 in the final quarter, but the Wings still had an opportunity to tie the game in the final seconds. A broken final play led to a desperation heave by Diggins-Smith. The now (8-3) Mercury defeated the (4-4) Wings with a final score of 75-72.