Wings come from behind to stun Sparks, 96-90

Glory Johnson had a season-high 24 points and 12 rebounds against the Sparks. AP photo by Andy Jacobsohn.
Glory Johnson had a season-high 24 points and 12 rebounds against the Sparks. AP photo by Andy Jacobsohn.

Arlington, TX. – The Dallas Wings rallied from a 14-point deficit Friday to beat the defending WNBA Champion Los Angeles Sparks, 96-90.

Glory Johnson five Dallas players in double figures with a season-high 24 points and 12 rebounds; her third double-double of the season. Skylar Diggins-Smith and Kayla Thornton each added 13 points.

Johnson said it was a tough game for her, but her teammates had her back the entire time.

“Mentally I needed to stay in it and every single person on the floor and on the benches, even the coaches, were staying positive with me,” Johnson said.

It was a collaborative effort for Dallas, who used stifling defense in the fourth quarter to hold the visitors scoreless for almost four minutes. Ten of Thornton’s points game in that frame, where they outscored Los Angeles, 32-19.

Diggins-Smith said the team prepared for the Sparks.

“We knew this was going to be a tough team,” she said. “They’ve got all-star players and are obviously the defending champions. But we were hungry for a win coming off a losing streak.”

Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks with 28 points and 13 rebounds, while Candace Parker scored 25 points.

The Sparks have not been able to play well outside their home arena, as they are now 1-3 on the road. They face the Phoenix Mercury Saturday. Coach Brian Agler said that he was disappointed that his team was outworked in the second half.

“We are showing signs of playing good basketball at times, but we’re really inconsistent,” Agler said. “We’ve got to work through it, come together, and stay together and figure it out.”

The Wings scored 21 points off of 15 turnovers and had 28 fast break points. Their defensive effort, lacking in previous games this season, kept them afloat against Los Angeles. The bench, which included Thornton, helped a lot, as rookies Kaela Davis had 10 points and Saniya Chong added seven.

Dallas coach Fred Williams said this was a big step for his team.

“It tells me that we are a relentless team,” Williams said. “Like I said before, we won’t give up. We will keep battling and do what we can.”

The Wings snapped a three-game losing streak with the win. They hit the road to face league-best Minnesota before traveling to Los Angeles to face the Sparks again on Tuesday.