Arlington Tx – Just one week ago, Dallas Wings’ fans had so many reasons to believe that a once promising season was lost. Nine consecutive losses, the dismissal of a beloved coach and mounting frustrations didn’t lend much hope for the Wings.
Insert the will of one Skylar Diggins-Smith and the dominance of Liz Cambage.
Friday night, the Wings faced the Las Vegas Aces. On the line for both teams, tied with records of 14 wins and 18 losses – was the final spot in the approaching WNBA playoffs.
Dallas left it all on the court in front of a crowd of 6,200 fans, defeating Las Vegas 107 – 102.
“Emotionally for our players – this win was much needed,” says Wings Interim Coach Taj McWilliams-Franklin. “We played Connecticut right after the (stuff) went down and they were pretty raw, emotional and flat after that.”
For much of the first half, the Wings found themselves playing catch up. The power shooting of the Aces almost seemed unstoppable at times. Rookie A’ja Wilson led the Aces with 19 points at the half, missing only two of her 11 shot attempts. Both Kayla McBride and Kelsey Plum also scored in double digits for the Aces in the first half.
Cambage netted 23 points in the first half, shooting an impressive eight of 11. Diggins-Smith scored 17 points before halftime, including three made shots from the perimeter.
Going into the break, the Wings found themselves down 57 – 51.
The second half proved to be an even more passionate effort for the Wings. Cambage added another 20 points. Diggins-Smith would add six points, pushing her scoring total to 23 points. She also had eight assists and only turned the ball over once. Kayla Thornton and Glory Johnson would prove vital to the Wings second half surge, contributing a combined total of 21 points and 11 rebounds.
At the seven-minute mark of the final quarter, Aces’ forward Tamera Young hit a jump shot that put her team up 88-85. Thornton immediately followed with a three-pointer to tie the game for the Wings. The next score was a Johnson free throw, giving the Wings a one-point advantage. From that point they would never relinquish the lead.
Dallas enjoyed a 10-point lead with 41 seconds remaining, leading both the team and the fans to begin celebrating. Friday’s 107-102 point victory is the first win for the Wings since July 19.
On her 27th birthday, Cambage – the WNBA’s leading scorer would allow the tears to flow freely as she embraced Diggins-Smith postgame.