Dallas, Texas – Glory Johnson was the difference in the 77-74 Dallas Wings victory over the Phoenix Mercury Tuesday night.
Her 23 points and league season-high 22 rebounds paced the Wings past the Mercury for the third time in 17 days, and broke a tie to put Dallas one game ahead in the Western Conference, for third place. Johnson was two boards shy of the WNBA single-game record, recording only the 15th 20-20 game in league history.
“It’s definitely my top performance,” Johnson said. “I don’t think I’ve gotten that many boards since I’ve been in the league. Even at Tennessee, I think I had 19. It was just a big game.”
Johnson has worked hard to make her way back into game playing shape, and has recorded a double-double in five of her last eight games. Odyssey Sims had 19 for Dallas, and rookie Aerial Powers added 17.
The Wings obliterated the Mercury on the boards 46-24. This was in spite of Phoenix having one of the most dominating centers in the league in Brittney Griner, who just recorded a triple double against the Atlanta Dream on Sunday.
“We let this one slip,” Griner said. “(Glory Johnson) definitely killed us on second-chance points and (we gave) them second chances. If we had just tightened up (our rebounding) just a little bit, we probably would have won.”
Dallas leads the league in offensive rebounds per game, and Johnson nearly outrebounded the Mercury by herself in the first half, grabbing 12 boards to their 13. Bu the Wings shot just 36 percent from the field. Coach Fred Williams said there has to be balance when things aren’t going right on the shooting end.
“Glory had a great game on the boards, we will always get those second attempts,” he said. “It is imperative of what Johnson and Courtney Paris does for us, the [shooting] percentages can be deceiving.”
It was a back-and-forth battle, with 16 lead changes and 18 ties. The largest lead of the night was seven when the Wings were ahead 73-66 with 1:37 left in the fourth quarter. But it was short-lived, as Phoenix forward DeWanna Bonner, who led her team in scoring in the previous two match ups, closed the gap with a three-point shot that cute the Wings’ lead to 75-72.
Shortly thereafter there was a foul called on Dallas point guard Skylar Diggins with seven seconds left. Mercury forward Diana Taurasi iced both free throws to bring the Mercury within one, 74-75. But Powers was fouled on the subsequent inbounds play, and she drained both of her free throws to cap the scoring at 77-74. Taurasi had a decent look from three to send the game into overtime, but Sims made sure to put a hand in her face and not foul her.
Taurasi lead four Phoenix players in double figures with 22 points.
The Wings will be on the road for the next three games, and will try to go above .500. The Mercury host Indiana at home Friday.