Wings Rise and Comeback To Defeat Mercury

By Kayte Ledbetter


The Dallas Wings (19-16) beat the Phoenix Mercury (9-25), 77-74 at Footprint Center on Sunday afternoon in a game that saw three lead changes and eight ties. Dallas’ 19 wins thus far in the 2023 season represent their most wins in a single season since moving to Dallas in 2016.

“The great team that I have, every one of those players in that locker room has been a major factor in some way. I think the buy in, the will to win, the love for one another, the connection they have – I have to give them all the credit because they’re the ones sacrificing,” said Wings’ Head Coach Latricia Trammell when asked how she got the team to 19 wins. “These young ladies have done a lot to get us in this position.”

Phoenix jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, fueled by back-to-back baskets by Brittney Griner off the bat. Dallas rallied to close the gap to one single point following three made Arike Ogunbowale free throws on a shooting foul. An Ogunbowale three represented the lead-changing basket, allowing the Wings to gain the lead for the first time in the matchup. A 6-2 Phoenix run that once again featured consecutive Griner baskets concluded the quarter with the Wings down four points.

In the first quarter alone, Ogunbowale accounted for three ties or lead changes enroute to ten points. The quarter featured two points each from Awak Kuier, Natasha Howard, Crystal Dangerfield and Odyssey Sims off the bench.

After a back-and-forth scoring effort in the first quarter, the second quarter saw each team work against each other using offensive spurts. Dallas tried to work away at the Phoenix lead with a late 7-0 rally, but the Mercury worked their way back to find a 12-point lead with 45 seconds to play. In the final 30 seconds though, the Wings cut that lead to just seven points as Ogunbowale sunk her third three of the afternoon.

The Phoenix bench outscore their starters 14-6 in the second quarter, an effort led by Sug Sutton who tallied seven points on 3-3 shooting.  Ogunbowale led Dallas offense with seven points, while Kalani Brown followed with six points off the bench.

The Wings outscored the Mercury 11-4 through the first five minutes of the third quarter to knot the game at 46 all. Phoenix worked the lead back with six unanswered points but didn’t hold the lead for long as the Wings would rally to tie the game going into the final ten minutes. Both teams heavily relied on runs in the third quarter, but none proved as crucial as Dallas’ 8-1 run in the final three minutes of the quarter.

Dallas claimed the third quarter 20-13 as Teaira McCowan led offense with seven points on 3-3 shooting. Each starter recorded at least one point in the quarter, while Brown and Maddy Siegrist worked to provide scoring off the bench.

Griner continued to lead Phoenix offense in the third quarter as she totaled nine points, while Sophie Cunningham and Moriah Jefferson accounted for the Mercury’s additional four points.

After entering the final quarter tied and dropping down by two points after the Mercury scored first, back-to-back threes from Ogunbowale and Dangerfield allowed the Wings to take their first lead since the opening quarter. Natasha Howard sunk Dallas’ third three of the quarter before Ogunbowale followed with a jumper that allowed Dallas a five-point lead and forced a Phoenix timeout. Dallas maintained their lead until a Mercury 6-0 run found Phoenix just one point shy of the Wings.

Ogunbowale continued her clutch play as she found herself in an and-one opportunity that allowed the Wings to regain a four-point lead with 20 seconds on the clock. Though Phoenix was able to record one final field goal, the effort wasn’t enough to regain the lead, falling to Dallas despite leading for most of the game.

The second half proved a successful comeback effort for Dallas as they entered the half only shooting 25.6%, bouncing back to shoot 48.5%. The Wings were able to rely on three important shots from beyond the arc to work for the lead and maintain it, while Phoenix didn’t record a single shot from deep in the second half.

Ogunbowale recorded 12 points in the second half, while Howard, Teaira McCowan and Dangerfield each produced seven points. Jefferson carried scoring efforts for Phoenix in the second half, recording 12 points alongside three assists. Griner followed with nine points in the half.

Arike Ogunbowale led scoring efforts for Dallas with 29 points that included 4-9 (44.4%) shooting from three. Her 29 points represented the 19th time this seasons he has recorded 20 or more points, ranking her fourth in the league for games with such numbers this season.

Kalani Brown followed with 12 points of the bench on 4-5 (80%) shooting and 4-4 shooting from the charity stripe. Natasha Howard recorded 11 points and eight rebounds.

In her second career start, Awak Kuier tied her career high rebounds with nine, leading team rebounding efforts. In her 10th game recording four or more rebounds, Crystal Dangerfield grabbed four boards alongside nine points.

The Wings will next head to Indianapolis where they will face the Fever at 6 p.m. CT on Friday, September 1 with coverage on ION.