As poor as the Dallas Wings have played of late, they still have a chance to make the playoffs.
Dealing with injuries to a couple of key contributors, the Wings need a win over the last-place New York on Sunday at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., to keep those postseason hopes alive.
For a good chunk of the last two weeks, Dallas (7-14) held the eighth and final playoff spot. However, it’s lost two in a row and four of the last five. Meanwhile, Washington has heated up to win three in a row heading into its regular-season finale on Sunday against Atlanta, and holds a one-game lead over the Wings for that final playoff spot.
A loss by the Wings in this game, and regardless of what happens with Washington, ends their season. Should Dallas win and the Mystics lose to the Dream, then it would be playoff-bound as result of owning the tiebreaker over Washington.
“We’re still working to make the playoffs,” Wings coach Brian Agler told The Dallas Morning News. “We’ve got to take care of our business and get ready for New York.”
Not even 38 points from superstar Arike Ogunbowale, the league’s leading scorer at 22.6 points per contest, could help Dallas from falling 95-88 to Chicago on Friday. The Wings, who allowed the Sky to shoot 57.6 percent from the field, played without star rookie Satou Sabally (13.9 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game), who is concussion protocol, and Allisha Gray (13.1 ppg), while she deals with a knee issue.
It’s uncertain if Sabally and/or Gray will be available for this contest. Regardless, the Wings must dust themselves off from another disappointment and be ready for their most important game of this unique season inside the “Wubble.”
“When you come up short, it’s frustrating,” Agler added to the Morning News. “At the same time, you’ve got to keep your composure, regroup, get your preparation in and move on. That’s how this league works.”
The good news for Dallas is that it’s in position to complete a season sweep of the Liberty (2-19) after winning 93-80 in the first meeting of 2020. Ogunbowale had 20 points in that matchup, as the Wings hit half of their 72 shot attempts to overcome 33 points from New York rookie Sabrina Ionescu.
Unfortunately for New York, it didn’t even get three full games from Ionescu (18.3 ppg), the league’s No. 1 overall draft pick this spring who was lost for the season with a serious ankle sprain. The Liberty dropped their seventh in a row, 75-58 to Washington on Saturday.
Kia Nurse (12.2 ppg) and Kiah Stokes each scored 15 on Saturday for the Liberty, who hit nine 3-pointers, but were still held to their second-lowest scoring game of the season.
This contest is a makeup from the Aug. 27 postponement of games as result of the boycott following the unrest and violence in the wake of the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.