The Wings lose physical battle against the Sparks

Arlington, Tex. – The Dallas Wings put up a fight against the Los Angeles Sparks Friday night, but it was not enough to come away with the win, as the Sparks held on for the 87-79 win. It is the tenth consecutive loss for the Wings.

Nneka Ogwumike lead the way for Los Angeles with 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Odyssey Sims had 26 points for Dallas. Ogwumike said the Sparks did a great job of sharing the ball and remaining poised.

“It’s always great playing against Dallas because they’re physical, and it’s something that you’re going to have to play against at some point in time,” Ogwumike said. “They’re a young team, they’re a talented team, and we’re just really happy we were able to have great competition and win tonight.”

Every game against the Sparks this season has been physical, and this game was no different. The Wings played with a sense of urgency, and matched the Sparks’ effort throughout the game. They began the game getting their points in transition and were aggressive, moving the ball and attacking the basket – something not seen in recent games.  

Dallas played tight, stingy defense and held Candace Parker to four points. Rookie Aerial Powers had a big first half with 11 points, and Glory Johnson recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 16 points and 15 boards. Their efforts kept the Wings competitive throughout the first half, and they were only down two at the half, 43-41. Johnson said it felt good to contribute.

“Rebounding is my main focus because it shows a little bit of hard work and it is tough rebounding against people that are bigger than you,” she said. “That was my main focus while trying to help my team out somehow because offensively I wasn’t really in it since I’ve been back, so crashing the boards was my focus.”

The Wings kept up the defensive pressure in the second half and the offense flowed through Sims who put up a season-high 12 points in the third quarter. However, Plenette Pierson saw limited minutes in the second half due to foul trouble. Dallas ended the third quarter tied at 62. Dallas coach Fred Williams said he wanted the team to play hard and stay competitive.

“I keep preaching that each game. We still want to build and learn with this young team we have and keep competing,” Williams said. “No excuses for us.”

The Sparks began moving the ball and getting their offense going through transition in the fourth quarter. The offense from Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver, who ended the game with 24 points, were too much for Dallas in the end. Toliver said being more aggressive and getting to the line had been a point of emphasis for the team.

“That’s something we wanted to address as a team, so I think we were able to do that, but it was competitive and it was a tough one,” Toliver said. “Dallas is a very good team – they’re scrappy. They’re playing for their life for a playoff spot. I think it wasn’t necessarily the prettiest game, but I think we did a good job.”

Despite their losses, there is a chance for the Wings to snag the final playoff spot, as they are less than three games behind. Dallas will attempt to end their losing streak against the Washington Mystics in their breast cancer awareness game at home on Sunday.

“We can talk about our window for the playoffs, but we also want to talk about the window for this season too,” Williams said. “I’m not counting this team out at all until someone shuts the window on us.”