Wings Unable to Stop Unbeaten Sparks, Fall 97-73

The Dallas Wings completed a two-game home stand tonight, taking on the Los Angeles Sparks. The final score of the night was 97-73.
Odyssey Sims led the night for the Wings with 18 points, while rookie Aerial Powers went 4-for-6 from the field with 16.

All-star Guard Skylar Diggins returned to action tonight. The All-star guard checked in at the 5:26 mark of the first quarter, and ended the night with a season high of 13 points and three steals.

Los Angeles’s biggest lead of the first half came at the 6:26 mark of the 2nd quarter when the Sparks led by 20. Dallas responded with a 9-0 run over the next 2:24 of the game.

The Wings held the Sparks to only one FG over the next 4:15 of the game, going on a 7-0 run in the second quarter to cut the Sparks lead.
Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks scoring 32 points and 10 rebounds, and Kristi Toliver scored 18.

The Wings will head to New York, to take on the Liberty, this Tuesday, before heading back to Arlington, to take on the Seattle Storm, June 16. Tickets are still available for purchase at www.dallaswingsbasketball.com.

Dallas Wings Post-Game Notes
*Forward Glory Johnson started for the first time this season. Tonight was the 90th start in her career. Her last start came for the Tulsa Shock on August 15, 2014 at Atlanta (92-76 L). Sims-Phillips-Paris-Christmas-Johnson is the third different starting lineup used by the Wings this season.
*Johnson became only the third Wings player to lead the team in rebounds this season (Paris 6 times, Christmas twice). Johnson’s six boards were the lowest individual team-high this season.
*Guard Skylar Diggins checked in at the 5:48 mark of the first quarter. It’s her first appearance since May 21st vs. San Antonio. She finished with 13 points, 1 rebound, and 2 assists.
*Forward Aerial Powers came off the bench and provided 16 points, 4 rebounds, and an assist. It is the rookie’s third straight game to score at least 16 (20 at MIN, 17 vs. WAS)
*Guard Odyssey Sims hit double-digit points for the first time in the month of June. Sims’s 18 were her highest total since she dropped 23 vs. Chicago on May 29th.
*The Wings tallied 9 steals tonight, the second-highest amount this season (10, twice). Skylar Diggins’s 3 steals ties a team-high mark for the fifth time this season (previous by Sims & Powers vs. CHI on 5/29).
*Dallas hit 8 3-pt FGs, tying a season-high for the third time. Sims’s 3 three-pointers tied a season-high for the guard.

Postgame Quotes
Dallas Wings Head Coach, Fred Williams
(Opening Statement )
“First of all, I want to say that LA was playing on all cylinders. They are a team that has size, speed and athleticism. They showed that tonight.”

(On Skylar Diggin’s Performance)
“Coming back, I thought she had some spark, she hit a couple of baskets. A few mental errors, some bad passes, but that’s expected. She’s trying to get back into the game. I was overall pleased on how she kept her poise the minute she stepped out on the floor.”

(On The Biggest Challenge the Team Is Facing Right Now)
“Anytime you have that number of losses in a row, you just want to get that win. We’ve gone against some tough teams, especially LA we were trying to make that happen. I think just the mental aspect of just pushing through and making that one extra shot and get our layups down. Those are just normal experiences that you show on film and try to make it better. I wish these players had about six years under their belt, we’d be a different type team, but they don’t. They have been together for just two and a half months and we are trying to get them to gel. We’ve been through some injuries and players coming off of injuries. If we can get Plaisance on the floor, that will help us in size and I thought tonight we could have really used her size.”

Dallas Wings Players Quotes
Wings Guard Odyssey Sims
(On Tonight’s Game)
“We’ve got to play more aggressive. From the start to the finish. When we started in the first quarter, we really put ourselves in a hole and it was hard to come back from 10 points, five points. We trailed throughout the whole game. But we know what we have to do and if we can get that one win, then all of our losses will go away and get back on top. But right now we are just searching for a win, but also get better defensively as a team.”

(On Tonight’s Performance and What Was Done Differently Against LA)
“I have been in a real slump the past two games, so I wanted to come out and be aggressive this game. That was my biggest key. Stay aggressive no matter what. I thought I shot the ball better tonight, but it’s not about me, it’s about my teammates. With the addition of Skylar back, we’re still trying to feel each other out. Glory just got back as well, and we don’t even have Theresa back yet, so we’re still trying to get in the flow, and that’s not to say why we’re still losing, we just have to find a way to win. It has nothing to do with coaching, or what we do in practice, it’s about all 12 players, and we have to really commit to playing defense and offense and just find a way to win.”

Wings Guard Skylar Diggins
(On Her Return To The Court Tonight)
“Against San Antonio, it was the first home game, I was really excited to be here. I had my family in town. I wanted to get out there and at least test the waters. I learned a lot about myself, I learned that ‘hey, I need a few more weeks. My teammates and coaches were real supportive and the staff and doctors here continued to help me with my rehab and strengthening my body. It felt a lot better out there tonight.”

(On Where the Team Goes From Here)
“We just continue the play. In the WNBA, you’ve got to nix the game. We’ve got a game on Tuesday at New York in the Garden, so we’ve got to lick our wounds and get up, practice and get ready for a tough New York team. Got to credit LA. They came out and had a great start to the first quarter. Nobody’s really been able to put a chink in their armor yet. We’ll see them again, we’ll see everybody again. So for us, this is about a team coming together and learning each other, now that we’re all back and move forward.”

Sparks Head Coach Brian Agler
(On Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike)
“She had a phenomenal game at both ends of the floor. She is really playing well right now. If you look at her stats, that is one thing. Her focus and her leadership just makes her one of the most dominant players in the league right now. She really impacts how we play. Really humble person, very team oriented, she does all this for her team. We’re really fortunate to have someone like that on this team.”

(On Sparks forward Candace Parker)
“She came back out on the bench, but we weren’t thinking about putting her back. She is seeing the doctor at this moment.

(On Sparks’s post play)
“Jantel (Lavender) has been really good off the bench. She was a starter for us last year. With us adding Essence (Carson), she is coming off the bench but we consider her a starter. Very efficient player. You put her with Nneka Ogqumike, and they are probably shooting 70 or 75 percent. Probably as good of a midrange jump shot as there is in this league.”

Sparks guard Kristi Toliver
(On her shooting)
“I am a shooter. That’s what I do and that’s my job. We have really good ball movement and really good spacing, so I got some good looks. I missed a lot of easy ones, so it’s something I’ll continue to work on, but we played a really good game today.”

Sparks forward Nneka Ogqumike
(On tonight’s game)
“I think when you’re feeling it, you’re feeling it. But at the same time, we wanted to be as efficient as we could. Coach talked to us about playing in flow and moving the ball, and my teammates did an awesome job of doing that. I wasn’t the only one hitting awesome shots. Jantel (Lavender) was hitting great shots, Kristi Toliver hit great shots. We were able to collaborate and get a good win.”

(On closing out Wings runs)
“That was something that we talked about in the timeouts. When teams make runs, we’re known to get flustered. This year we’re trying to stay poised. I think we did a really good job of responding on the defensive end when they were trying to make their run.”