By Kayte Ledbetter
The Dallas Wings (0-2) fell, 91-84, to the Las Vegas Aces (2-0) on Tuesday, September 26 at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.
The Dallas shots weren’t falling to start the opening quarter only making 2-9 shots (22.2%) through the first timeout at 4:54, making it hard to keep up with Aces 66.7% shooting through that point. Odyssey Sims fueled the Dallas offense, making one of Dallas’ two baskets through the midpoint of the first quarter and assisting the other.
14 of the 18 first quarter points for Dallas came from within the paint.
In the opening quarter, Dallas and Las Vegas grabbed 11 rebounds each, while eight of Dallas’ were offensive rebounds. Their offensive boards allowed them to record four second chance points.
Rookie Maddy Siegrist recorded Dallas first three-pointer of the game as she checked into the game in the second quarter. Vegas then took off on a 6-2 run to extend their lead to 13 points. The double-digit lead wasn’t held for long after Arike Ogunbowale sunk her first and second threes of the game consecutively and Natasha Howard made a jump shot, combining to put Dallas in the midst of an 8-0 run. Las Vegas sunk the final basket of the half, but Dallas had brought their deficit to just seven points.
Four offensive rebounds in the second quarter allowed for six second chance points, while the Aces recorded just two. After not recording a single shot from deep in the opening quarter, the Wings connected on three shots from beyond the arc in the second quarter which fueled their efforts that saw them outscore the Aces 19-18.
Both Wilson and Chelsea Gray were in double figures at the half, while the leading Dallas scorer, Ogunbowale had eight. Howard, Teaira McCowan and Kalani Brown each had six points.
The Wings came out of the half aggressive and recorded stops in Vegas’ first three possessions, while scoring on each of theirs to cut the Aces lead to just one, the smallest it had been since the 4:39 mark in the opening quarter. Dallas then rallied with two consecutive threes that tied the game at 49 all.
Dallas called a timeout at 5:34 after Wilson scored back-to-back buckets to extend the Las Vegas lead once again. At the time of the timeout, both teams had sunk 21 baskets, including five each from three.
After starting the quarter shooting the ball well, Dallas concluded the third quarter shooting 42.1% (8-19). Natasha Howard (13), Arike Ogunbowale (12) and Satou Sabally (11) had worked their way into double figures through three quarters. A’ja Wilson had worked her way to 24 points, while Chelsea Gray extended her scoring to 18 points and Kelsey Plum joined with 12 points.
Dallas had cut down the Vegas lead before, and they needed to again in the fourth as the Aces worked their advantage back to 13 points leading into the final quarter.
Dallas forced an early Las Vegas timeout after starting the fourth quarter with an 11-3 run that cut the Aces lead to five points. A three-point make from Ogunbowale immediately provided the Wings with a spark and Ogunbowale’s basket marked the first of two consecutive Dallas baskets that cut the Vegas lead to four and forced an Aces timeout.
The Wings shot a game high 43.5% (10-23) in the fourth quarter, with Ogunbowale leading with 12 points on four made threes. Dallas held Vegas to a game low 37.5% (6-16) from the field and didn’t allow a player to record more than six points.
Arike Ogunbowale finished with a team leading 24 points with six of her nine baskets coming from deep. In her 52nd WNBA playoff game, Natasha Howard recorded her 6th career playoff double-double on 20 points and 10 rebounds. Teaira McCowan recorded her second double-double of the 2023 playoffs with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Satou Sabally wrapped up double digit scoring for Dallas with 13 points alongside four assists and three blocks.
The teams will meet next on Dallas’ home court on Friday, September 29 at 8:30 p.m. CT with live coverage on ESPN2.