By Kayte Ledbetter
The Dallas Wings defeated the Connecticut Sun, 95-75, Friday evening at Mohegan Sun Arena. The loss represented Connecticut’s third in a row, which is their first time losing more than two games in a row since June 2021.
The loss additionally represented the first time the Sun lost a game by 20 or more points since 2021 and represented the first time since 2018 that they lost back-to-back games by double digits.
Arike Ogunbowale started off with a taste of what was to come, knocking down the first backet of the evening from deep. All five Connecticut starters had scored within the first four and a half minutes, while the Wings had only recorded two baskets. Crystal Dangerfield provided fuel for the Wings, jump starting the offense before Teaira McCowan worked to close the gap. McCowan recorded all nine of her first quarter points consecutively for the Wings during a 9-2 Wings run. She was the only Wing to make their way to the free throw line and found herself there six times in the first quarter alone where she shot 83% (5-6).
Despite jumping out to a quick three-point lead following an 8-2 run to begin the second quarter, the Sun responded with a run as equally as impactful that regained them the lead and forced a crucial Dallas timeout.
“They went on runs and that’s something that we talked about a couple of times when we had to call a quick timeout. I just told the team we’re alright. Just keep battling and sticking to the game plan,” said Wings Head Coach Latricia Trammell after the game. “And I loved the team tonight because really, they were so connected in those timeouts. I mean they just kept encouraging one another.”
The Wings came out of the timeout with an offensive spurt of six unanswered points that forced Connecticut to call a timeout of their own. Dallas shot 11-18 (61.1%) in the second quarter and grabbed a total of 10 rebounds, an effort led by Maddy Siegrist with three.
Ogunbowale was a perfect 4-4 from deep at the half, including three in the second quarter that aided the Wings to outpace the Sun 28-19 in the quarter. While not a single player from Connecticut had reached double figures at the half, Ogunbowale led scoring with 14 points followed by Teaira McCowan who had recorded 10 points.
An 8-0 Connecticut run made things tricky for the Wings in the third quarter, but despite the Connecticut burst, the Wings only finished the quarter with three fewer points than the Sun, while they maintained a three point lead overall.
DeWanna Bonner recorded her best quarter of the night offensively in the third, as she totaled 14 points that included 8-8 shooting from the free throw line. In the third quarter, the Wings found themselves on the line just four times, while the Sun visited it 12 times.
The Wings held the Sun scoreless for nearly four minutes during the fourth quarter, a span that saw them record eleven points.That was not the only run the Wings would rely on to put the final nail in Connecticut’s coffin as they finished out the final four minutes of play with a 19-6 run to win the fourth quarter 29-12.
The second half saw the Wings shoot 47.5% from the field, while the Sun only shot 29.4%, which included zero made threes (0-5). Ogunbowaleand Bonner each had 16 points in the half, but while Ogunbowale’s spawned from six made baskets from the floor, Bonner’s were due to her 10-10 shooting rom the free throw line, as she only made three baskets on 11 attempts from the floor in the final half.
Since entering the league in 2019, no player has recorded more 30-plus point games in that time span than Ogunbowale as she recorded her 15th game with such numbers tonight. Her 30 points additionally represent her 17th 20+ point game of the season which ties her for the third most games with such numbers alongside Seattle’s Jewell Lloyd. Ogunbowale shot 7-9 (77.8%) from three, representing her best clip from beyond the arc this season. It represents her second game this season with seven made threes, of which ties her career high set originally set on June 17 vs. Seattle.
Four additional Wings dipped into double figures with ‘bigs’ Teaira McCowan and Kalani Brown each totaling 14 points, followed by Natasha Howard who finished with 13 and Crystal Dangerfield who recorded 12 points. McCowan grabbed 11 rebounds to record her seventh double-double of the season.
The Wings will stay on the road and will head to Washington where they will take on the Mystics at Entertainment and Sports Arena on Sunday, August 20 at 2 p.m. CT.