Arlington, Texas – Aerial Powers made her season debut and the Dallas Wings held on to defeat the Indiana Fever Tuesday, 84-82.
Skylar Diggins-Smith led Dallas with 21 points – her sixth consecutive 20-plus point game. Rookie Allisha Gray added 12 points, with 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter; and Glory Johnson, had 11. Powers, who had hip surgery over the winter, missed another two weeks with a sprained ankle. She scored nine points in 18:26 minutes in her season debut.
It took a total team effort from the Wings to get the comeback victory after being down by as many 13 in the fourth quarter in a sloppy match up that saw officials call both teams for a total of 51 fouls.
Diggins-Smith said that the team is really excited about having everyone back, although they were rustier than they wanted to be after the All-Star break.
“I was happy with our effort,” Diggins-Smith said. “It was tough, I know it was one of those ugly wins, but I am just happy to get the victory.”
Dallas began by shooting the ball poorly, while leaving Fever players open and giving up 23 points off of 15 turnovers. But they forced the visitors into 17 turnovers – many of them courtesy of Powers.
She said she was nervous in her return, but added that the fans showered her with appreciation.
“They made me feel so good, I love them, and I felt that they really welcomed me so I want to say thank you,” Powers said. “I was really excited to finally be out there with my teammates and finally healthy.”
Dallas coach Fred Williams said that he was planning on having her play just eight or nine minutes, but he gave her more minutes because she was in a rhythm.
Both Dallas and Indiana have their eyes on the playoffs to kick off the second half of the season. The Fever had the upper hand for the majority of the game, but allowed the Wings to climb back into it late. Indiana coach Pokey Chatman said that she was not happy with the loss, but that there were some positive takeaways.
“I thought from the beginning, we came out and competed at a level to give ourselves an opportunity to win by taking away some of their strengths,” Chatman said. “But I thought in that fourth quarter, a team scores 31 points, that’s tough.”
Briann January led the Fever with 16 points, while Natalie Achonwa added 13 and Candice Dupree, 12. Indiana is now 8-14 and will host the New York Liberty Friday.
Dallas is 11-12 and head to the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Storm Friday.