Phoenix, Ariz. – The Dallas Wings rallied from 17 down and forced three overtimes to beat the Phoenix Mercury 117-111 Saturday. Skylar Diggins led the way with 27 points – a team high this season. Odyssey Sims added 18, including 10 in the final overtime.
Dallas forward Glory Johnson and Phoenix center Brittney Griner played against each other since their tumultuous divorce last year and subsequent game suspensions for domestic violence, so emotions were running high on both sides of the court. But it was the high level of competition between these two team that stole the spotlight.
Both teams needed a win coming into the game, with 4-7 records. Mercury guard DeWanna Bonner exploded in the first two periods, scoring 24 of her game high 38.
The Wings had a balanced attack throughout the first half, but went cold in the third quarter, trailing by 16 heading into the fourth. Diggins scored 19 of her 27 points in the second half, helping to erase the deficit. Wings coach Fred Williams thought it was the defense that helped them as well.
“I just felt that a few of our players just buckled-down and played some hard defense for us,” Williams said. “I thought Skylar helped us on the backside of our defense.
By the end of the game, the Mercury saw four players foul out, including three of their five starters. Griner, Diana Taurasi, Candice Dupree and Noelle Quinn had to look on from the bench as the Wings ended their six-game losing streak against Phoenix. Free throw shooting kept Dallas in the game, as they made 41 of the 51 attempts in this tightly-called match up.
Dallas has had a balanced attack over the last few games, and against the Mercury they had five players in double digits. Along with Sims, Plenette Pierson and Karima Christmas each added 18, and Johnson chipped in 15. If Diggins, who recently returned from an ACL injury, is able to produce consistently and the team continues with balance, the Wings may have just found the winning formula.
“I think everybody is just playing with heart,” Christmas said. “This team, it speaks to what we can do together as a team, we’re never going to quit.”
Dallas will face Phoenix again Tuesday night at home. The game will air at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2, as the WNBA honors the 20th anniversary date of the league’s inaugural regular-season game.