Dallas Wings (9-14) vs. Connecticut Sun (6-16)
Date: Wednesday, July 20
Time: 11:30 AM (CDT)
Site: College Park Center
Television: Fox Sports Southwest
Wings: Karima Christmas, Plenette Pierson, Courtney Paris, Odyssey Sims, Skylar Diggins
Sun: Camille Little, Alyssa Thomas, Jonquel Jones, Jasmine Thomas, Alex Bentley
The Wings and Sun face off in a rare morning tip-off at the College Park Center. Dallas fell out of playoff position after a 98-97 overtime loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday. The loss left the Wings in ninth place in the standings, a half-game behind the Washington Mystics.
Connecticut has won three of its last six games after starting the season 3-13. The Wings fell to the Sun 86-83 at home in the only previous game this year. Dallas will travel to Connecticut on September 16th for the final matchup of the regular season between the two teams.
Rookie Ariel Powers came off the bench to score seven points in the second quarter in the loss to Connecticut and finished with 15 total points. Guard Odyssey Sims, who also came off the bench, dropped 13 and dished out 2 assists. Connecticut guard Alex Bentley scored 19 of her game-high 24 points in the second half to lead the Sun to victory.
The Wings set a new season high for assists on Sunday vs. Minnesota, dishing out 24 in the overtime loss. Twenty-one of those came in regulation, eclipsing the team’s previous high of 20 set on June 6 vs. Washington.
Dallas signed guard Tiffany Bias to a seven-day contract on Monday. Bias was selected by the Phoenix Mercury with the 17th overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft. The third-year guard played collegiately at Oklahoma State University and received honorable mention All-America honors from the Associated Press in her junior and senior seasons.
Forward Karima Christmas has been one of the most consistent players in the league this season. The sixth-year guard out of Duke University is averaging 33 minutes per game, the most in her career and fifth-most in the league this season, and is the only Wings player to start in every game this year. Christmas has scored in double-digits 19 times this season, recording four double-doubles along the way. Her 13.5 points per game average is the highest of her career. Christmas is also averaging career-highs in field goal percentage, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks this season.
With 21 points vs. Minnesota on Sunday, Plenette Pierson led the Wings in scoring for the fifth time this season. Pierson, in her 14th WNBA season, is the team’s fifth-leading scorer averaging 11.6 points per game. The forward is also grabbing 4.6 rebounds and dishing out 1.7 assists per game.
Pierson currently stands at 29th all-time in the WNBA with 3,968 career points. She can pass former Detroit Shock teammate Deanna Nolan and move into the 28th spot with five points on Wednesday.
What the Wings are saying…
Head Coach Fred Williams on the Connecticut Sun- “Defensively, we’ve got to stay on their scorers Alex Bentley and Alyssa Thomas. For us, we just have to finish out with strong rebounds and finish our plays towards the end of the fourth quarter.”
Assistant coach Bridget Pettis on Connecticut- “For us, we just have to start strong. We have to really come out in the beginning of the game with a strong start and build some consistency off of that.”
Forward Karima Christmas on Connecticut- “They are kind of clicking on all cylinders right now. We just have to find a way to execute down the stretch. We started off the game very well when we played them last time, so it’s just being able to shut down Bentley and limit her shots. We had a tough time last game rebounding the ball, so that is something we will focus on.”
Center Ruth Hamblin on Connecticut- “Defending their half-court offense is going to be a huge part of it. We got an early run on them last time and then let them get into their momentum, so I think help side defense will be a big part of it, as will getting into runs on our offense.”
Head Coach Fred Williams on new acquisition Tiffany Bias– “She is going to bring a lot of energy. She is going to bring a lot of quickness and speed defensively and in our half-court game. She is a defensive-minded player for us and I think she is going to help us around the perimeter.”
Assistant coach Bridget Pettis on Bias- “She is a champion. She is bringing a lot of knowledge and some pressure off the bench. We’re adding to the backcourt. That’s all we need, for her to be effective in whatever minutes she gets and in practice as well.”