Dallas Drops Tough Battle to Minnesota

By Kayte Ledbetter


The Dallas Wings (18-16) fell, 90-81, to the Minnesota Lynx (17-17) on Thursday night at College Park Center in a game that saw 15 lead changes and seven ties.

Awak Kuier got the first start of her career, and put her length to good use, helping the Wings jump out to an early six-point lead. The 6’4 forward recorded a team-leading five points alongside two assists and two rebounds in the first four minutes of play. Minnesota began to close the gap and work on extending a lead of their own, embarking on a 10-2 run. As is repeated in basketball, this game relies on runs, and the first quarter especially showed that. In response to the Minnesota spurt, the Wings pushed back with six unanswered points of their own.

At the conclusion of the first quarter Awak Kuier had totaled seven points on perfect 3-3 shooting. Teaira McCowan notched six points in the first quarter, while the additional three starters had recorded at least one field goal each to find themselves on the board.

The Wings fought their way back early in the second quarter to find the pesky lead that seemed to stay in neither team’s possession too long. A Natasha Howard shooting foul provided an opportunity for McCowan to tally her eighth and lead-securing point, as the center secured her second offensive rebound of the night and turned it into a scoring opportunity for Dallas. The teams went toe-to-toe in the second quarter, seeing ten lead changes and five ties during those 10 minutes alone.

With 11 points and 11 rebounds in the first half alone, Teaira McCowan recorded her 10th double-double of the season, tying her for the seventh most this season alongside New York’s Jonquel Jones and Indiana’s NaLyssa Smith.

Awak Kuier additionally recorded 11 points in the first half and dished out three assists alongside Crystal Dangerfield. In the first half alone, Kuier tied her season high for rebounds with five. Each Wing had tallied points at the half, with the Dallas bench contributing 11 points.

Both Kayla McBride (11) and Napheesa Collier (10) had dipped into double figures for Minnesota at the half. Their bench had provided 15 points, including four from Dorka Juhasz.

Out of the half, Minnesota was hot, scoring 12 unanswered points in the first three minutes, forcing Dallas to call an early timeout. They extended their run to 14-0 out of the timeout, but McCowan was able to sink the team’s first and second field goals of the quarter and put an end to the Minnesota streak. The third quarter saw neither team able to hold onto the ball, as Dallas and Minnesota each turned the ball over seven times.

After entering the final quarter down 11 points, the Wings cut the Minnesota lead to just four points following a 7-0 run that forced the Lynx to call a timeout after just a minute and a half of play. The timeout seemed more a benefit for the Wings as they extended their run to nine unanswered points, putting them just two points shy of the Lynx with eight minutes left on the clock. With grit, a will to win and a McCowan and-one opportunity, Dallas found themselves within just one point with 3:50 on the clock. Minnesota found an offensive spurt in those final minutes, outscoring the Wings 11-3, including a three from Kayla McBride that served as the final nail in Dallas’ coffin.

Teaira McCowan finished the night with 23 points, a season high 18 rebounds and tied a season high with four blocks. Fellow ‘big’ Kalani Brown totaled seven points on 3-3 shooting, while tying a career high four assists off the bench. In her first career start, Awak Kuier recorded 12 points and grabbed a season high six rebounds. She additionally tied her career high in assists with three.

“She did great, didn’t she,” said Wings’ Head Coach Latricia Trammell. “I think that was really good for her. We knew she has it in her, but to see her step up like she did in her first career start and play like she did, that’s only a confidence boost for her.”

The Dallas bench was efficient, combining for 20 points, an effort led by Maddy Siegrist who finished with nine points that included 4-4 shooting from the charity stripe.

Naheesa Collier worked alongside a fiery team to shut down the Wings once again. Collier totaled 25 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks. She recorded half of her team’s steals and three quarters of their blocks. Kayla McBride recorded 20 points that included four baskets from deep.

The Dallas Wings will head out on the road once again, where they will face the Phoenix Mercury at Footprint Center at 5pm CT on Sunday, August 27.