By Kayte Ledbetter
The Dallas Wings (0-3) fell, 64-61, to the Las Vegas Aces (3-0) in game three of the 2023 WNBA Semifinals Friday night at College Park Center.
To start the game, Teaira McCowan used consecutive layups off of Dallas offensive rebounds to grab the Wings their first lead of the game early. Dallas was effective on defense, holding the Aces scoreless once again for over four minutes, a span that saw 10 Dallas points. The Wings’ run allowed them to take a 18-16 lead into the second quarter.
Teaira McCowan, Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally each had four points, while Natasha Howard and Awak Kuier both sunk a shot from deep for three points in the first quarter. Teaira McCowan grabbed five rebounds in the first alone, including three offensive rebounds. A’ja Wilson led with five points for the Aces.
Dallas extended their lead early and extended it quickly in the second quarter, opening play with five unanswered points to extend their lead to seven. Alysha Clark sank a three before Kelsey Plum followed with a three-pointer of her own. The final five minutes of the second quarter saw four lead changes and a combined 19 points, including eight from Dallas in the final minute and a half.
At the half, Dallas had outrebounded Las Vegas 23-15 with six offensive rebounds. Teaira McCowan led the rebounding effort for the Wings with 10 in the half. Ogunbowale was the only player for either team in double digits at the half with 12 points. Veronica Burton, with almost 10 minutes off the bench. Kelsey Plum was the leading scorer for Las Vegas with nine points, followed by A’ja Wilson who only had five points.
Las Vegas came out of the half starting the third quarter on a 7-0 run. After falling behind by four points in the first four minutes after only scoring on a free throw attempt, Dallas regained the lead once again following a McCowan layup and a three from Burton.
Dallas held Las Vegas to just two points through the first three and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, while they recorded six points, taking a six-point lead in the process. Dallas extended their lead to eight points following back-to-back jumpers that forced a Vegas timeout. Las Vegas came out of the timeout on a 9-0 run to take a one-point lead with just 1:45 on the clock. A jump ball on the side of Dallas’ basket with 11.7 seconds on the clock set the Wings up to gain the final possession and call a timeout with nine seconds left in the game. With their last shot of the game, Natasha Howard missed a three-point attempt, allowing Vegas to gain the final possession and draw a foul that gave them a two-point advantage with 2.7 seconds remaining. Dallas’ final basket of the game came right at the five-minute mark which allowed Las Vegas the opportunity to close out the game with the final 11 points.
Unfortunately, to Dallas’ demise, they shot only 21.1% (4-19) and made 28.6% (2-7) of their free throws.
Chelsea Gray led scoring efforts for the Aces with 15 points. Wilson recorded a double-double, recording 13 points and rebounds. The Las Vegas bench put up 10 points, their most of the series.
Teaira McCowan recorded 10 points and 15 rebounds. Her 15 rebounds represent the second-most in franchise playoff history, tying Cheryl Ford. With her double-double tonight, McCowan became the eighth player to have four double-doubles in ger first five games of a postseason.
Arike Ogunbowale recorded 18 points alongside seven rebounds, while Natasha Howard recorded 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists.