By Kayte Ledbetter
The Dallas Wings (20-16) defeated the Indiana Fever (11-25), 110-100, on Friday, September 1 in an offensive shootout that clinched Dallas a spot in the playoffs and eliminated Indiana from contention. The 110 points represent the Wings most points scored this season.
Following a 14-6 start that saw Kelsey Mitchell shoot 3-3, the Fever carried an early eight-point lead into the first timeout of the game. Indiana entered the timeout hitting their first seven of nine shots (77.8%). The Wings came out of the timeout on a 6-2 run to cut the Fever lead to four. Ogunbowale lit it up late in the first, totaling seven points in the final two minutes, including five points in five seconds following a Veronica Burton steal on the inbound. She sunk her final basket with two seconds left on the clock to cut the Indiana lead to just three points.
With her seven points in the first quarter, Ogunbowale broke the record for most points scored in a single season in franchise history (Liz Cambage 737 – 2018), now with 757 points on the year.
The first quarter featured 45% shooting from the Wings and 57.1% shooting from the Fever. Kelsey Mitchell shot 5-8 to total 11 first quarter points.
Dallas overtook the lead in the first minute of the second quarter as Odyssey Sims sunk a running layup, allowing the Wings to take the lead for the first time since 9:40 in the first quarter. The Wings outscored the Fever 6-0 in the first two minutes, an effort that saw scoring solely from the Dallas bench. Dallas drilled consecutive triples in the final minute of the quarter, both assisted by Veronica Burton. The first three, sunk by Crystal Dangerfield, stemmed on Burton’s fifth offensive rebound of the half, a rebound that saw her assist Dangerfield from her knees. The baskets represented the final two of the second, a quarter that saw Dallas outscore Indiana 30-19.
After entering the second quarter down by three points, the Wings bounced back in the second quarter, fueled by 6-10 shooting from three, to enter the half with an eight-point advantage. Dallas recorded 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, an effort Veronica Burton led with five. Burton additionally led the Wings with four assists. All nine of the Wings’ active players found themselves on the board in the half, each recording at least one field goal in the first 20 minutes.
In the first eight minutes, Ogunbowale missed her first three shots, but improved to sink five of her next six shots over the next eight minutes. She entered the half with 18 points, including two from deep. In her first game back from an ankle injury that saw her out the previous two games, Satou Sabally followed with 12 points
Awak Kuier sunk all eight of Dallas’ points in the first four minutes. After sinking just two threes in the first half, Indiana relied on three baskets from deep in the span of two minutes in the third quarter to regain a two-point lead. Dallas used triples to their advantage as well, as Ogunbowale immediately regained the lead for the Wings with a three of their own. The Fever sunk yet another shot from deep, representing their fourth consecutive backet from beyond the arc. Sabally single handedly regained the finnicky lead for Dallas as she embarked on a personal 7-4 run late in the quarter that didn’t allow the Fever to secure the lead they were pushing for. Sabally concluded the quarter with her 13th point of the third on a basket she got off with 0.7 seconds on the clock.
Sabally carried her nine late points from the third quarter into the final quarter, where she sunk consecutive threes for Dallas. Maddy Siegrist recorded the Wings’ third-straight basket, forcing the Fever to call an early timeout after they found themselves down 11 points. Dallas came out of the timeout the same way they’d entered it. Sims secured Dallas’ tenth point in the first minute and 40 seconds on a basket off her own steal, securing a 15-point lead. After the Wings had begun the quarter with a 13-1 run, the Fever found their footing to produce their own 5-0 run to cut the lead to eight. The Wings finished out the quarter to outscore Indiana 30-23 on perfect offensive efforts from Sabally (15 points, 5-5) and Kalani brown (7 points, 3-3).
Sabally, a 2023 WNBA Most Improved Player candidate, recorded a career high seven three pointers this evening on 7-10 (70%) shooting. She finished with a career high 40 points to record the 12th 40-point game in the league this season of the season. She is the only WNBA player to score 40 points in a game in which they played fewer than 30 minutes (28:32). The 12 occurrences are more than the WNBA saw in the regular season from 2009 to 2022, all seasons combined.
“The fact that [my teammates] are so happy for me makes me even happier,” stated Sabally during her postgame interview with ION.
Arike Ogunbowale finished with 25 points, including five baskets from deep, alongside three assists and two steals. Awak Kuier (4-4) and Kalani Brown (4-6) additionally found themselves in double figures with 10 points each.
The Dallas domination shouldn’t mask the night that Aliyah Boston had as she recorded her ninth double-double of the season. She totaled 27 points, 11 rebounds and five assists to become just the fifth rookie in the WNBA history to finish a game with 25+ points, 10+ rebounds and 5+ assists. Kelsey Mitchell finished with 25 points, while Nalyssa Smith (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Erica Wheeler (12 points, 10 assists) each recorded a double-double.
Sabally, Boston, Mitchell and Ogunbowale’s performances represent just the fourth time in WNBA history and first since 2019 that four or more players scored 25+ points in the same non-overtime game.
The Dallas bench outscored Indiana’s 24-4, as Dallas’ bench was efficient. Brown led scoring followed by Maddy Siegrist and Odyssey Sims who recorded six points each. Veronica Burton totaled eight assists and a career high seven rebounds, including a career high six offensive boards.
The Wings will face the Fever once again, this time on home court, on Sunday, September 5 at 3 p.m. CT with live coverage on Bally Sports Southwest Extra.