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  • Eric Martinez

The Wings folded the Aces 80-78

The electricity in College Park Center could be felt during pregame warmups. The Las Vegas Aces brings a following of basketball fans that support head coach, Becky Hammon, veteran Candace Parker, and a dominant player in A’ja Wilson. One thing that the Dallas Wings learned from Wednesday night’s loss had a lot to do about making defensive stops inside of the paint and created points off of turnovers. Las Vegas came out playing strong in the first quarter, holding on to a 25 to 23 lead, shooting 60% from the field, and only allowing Dallas to shoot 45% which was part of the 25% from three-point range that was not falling early tonight.

​Dallas continued to keep the game within reach, trading baskets early in the second quarter, however their 18.2% shooting from three-point range played a pivotal part of Aces’ transition buckets. Besides three-point shooting, Las Vegas and Dallas mirrored each other on the stat sheet. Both teams shot 43% field goal, both had 10 turnovers, Dallas brought in 20 rebounds to Aces’ 15 rebounds. A’Ja Wilson for Las Vegas showed a non-stop motor in the paint that help contribute to a 40 to 39 lead for Aces at halftime.

Throughout the third and fourth quarter, Las Vegas extended the lead to 11 points at one time. A huge credit has to be given to the role players of the Dallas Wings such as Crystal Dangerfield that was a floor general all night long contributing 14 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Teaira McCowan ended the night with a double-double (14 points and 12 rebounds) but her defensive presence protecting the paint had the arena yelling to high volume in appreciation of her work tonight. Arike Ogunbowale still ended had her near average total for the season, 21 points, but Natasha Howard played exceptional in her 37 minutes. Her intensity to rebound is the sole reason that she drew the foul with 0.4 seconds left in the game after receiving the ball tied 78-78 with 14.2 seconds, and then stepped up to the free-throw line to make two very important baskets to put the Wings up 80-78.

​Las Vegas could not convert to tie the game, and Dallas wins a Commissioner’s Cup game against the Aces and hand them their second loss of the season. Dallas displayed a toughness physically, but more importantly down the stretch it was obvious that this 2023 Wings team is mentally strong as well. Aces had 5 starters in double figures (Plum 21, Wilson 18, Gray 14, Parker 10, Young 15) but their 18 turnovers were an issue all game long including the costly turnover with 14.2 seconds in a 78 to 78 tied game. Las Vegas head to Minnesota to play the Lynx, while Dallas will enjoy the victory tonight, but get ready to face number 1 overall pick, Aliyah Boston and the Indiana Fever on Sunday afternoon.

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