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Ogwumike, Sun burn Wings despite 3rd quarter outburst

The Connecticut Sun were not playing any games on the road against the Dallas Wings, as both teams were looking to bounce back from tough losses. Jazmine Thomas and Chiney Ogwumike were locked in for the Sun, however Odyssey Sims tried to take over the game for the Wings.

Chris Poss - Swish Appeal

(Arlington, TX) -- Today's match-up between Dallas and Connecticut marks only the second time these teams will meet this season. In the last meeting, Glory Johnson recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Guard Alex Bentley led the Sun with 24 points to end the night.

With Johnson out for the next four to six weeks with a broken toe, head coach Fred Williams must make the necessary adjustments to fill that void. The Wings were notably missing Johnson on Sunday when they were outrebounded 51-34 by Minnesota in a devastating 98-97 OT loss.

During the first quarter, the Wings had a tough time getting shots to fall through. In fact, they only shot 35 percent compared to the Sun shooting at 52.9 percent. Despite poor shooting by Dallas, they finished the first quarter only down by five points. (20-15)

What's interesting about both teams is that they each had a chance to steal an upset victory before today. However, they both lost and now both desperately needed a win under their belt. On Sunday, Dallas clawed their way through a 13-point fourth quarter deficit only to fall short in overtime. On the other hand, Connecticut held a seven-point lead in the third quarter against New York, but ran out of steam early.

The second quarter is where things got tricky, for Dallas at least. Connecticut has forward Chiney Ogwumike, who's had an incredible season, since returning from surgery causing her to miss all of last season.

Ever since then, she has finished in the double-digit scoring in the last nine out of 11 games. As for today's game, Ogwumike collected four blocks before halftime and snatched every rebound she could. (15 to be exact)

"For us, we just have to take more pride in our defense. It's no secret what it is. Transition defense, half-court defense...that is something that I'm sure will be discussed tomorrow in film when we go back and look at the tape." said guard Skylar Diggins.

Once again, the Wings were feeling the sting of Johnson's absence down in the paint to grab rebounds, as the Sun had a total of 13 rebounds alone in the second quarter.

Dallas' defense began to fall apart just before halftime, causing Connecticut's offense to capitalize and widen the deficit. Shooters like forwards Jasmine Thomas and Morgan Tuck off the bench, banked in jumpers as time expired.

The Sun remained in the lead 48-33 at halftime.

"Connecticut did a fine job in their transition game. They got some points off of our turnovers. We didn't really shoot the ball well, especially during the first half," said coach Williams.

One problem that each team shares is the lack of consistency when it comes to putting away games. For instance, the last 16 games played by Connecticut have been decided by nine points or less, eight games by five or less, and four have gone to overtime.

"You have to credit Connecticut, they came out and were ready to play from the beginning with a 7-0 run. We have to start better and be better on defense," said Diggins.

The Wings attempted a comeback strategy in the third quarter with guard Odyssey Sims banking in 10 points, but it didn't match up to Ogwumike's 12 points with help from the bench. From then on, it was a game of catch up for Dallas as they trailed for the majority of the game. Unable to bounce back, the Dallas Wings fell yet again to the Connecticut Sun at home 89-78.

"We cut the lead down in the second half, but we just didn't secure the ball. They scored and got the lead back up again. With us, we'll just keep battling on and try to get the chemistry right. This is a young team we've just got to keep together." said coach Williams.

The Wings recently signed former Seattle Storm guard Tiffany Bias, to a seven-day contract and waived Brianna Kiesel's contract to make room for the addition. The Kansas native was honorable mention All-American at Oklahoma State twice, where she dished out the third most assists in Big 12 history.

Bias is exactly the kind of player needed for this team and should fit right in. Until then, Dallas is now 9-15, but there is still plenty of basketball left to play for this team to turn their season around especially with a month-long break for the Summer Olympics.

"We just have to keep playing. One or two games will put you right back in the playoffs. For us, there is another half of the season to go, and we still have a game to play in Atlanta. There have been a lot of games that could've gone either way.

"Throughout all the injuries and combination of players we've had on the floor, we just have to keep going and keep building. Defensively, we have to get a little tougher," said coach Williams.

FINAL STATS:

Chiney Ogwumike: 26 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks 
Jasmine Thomas: 20 points, four rebounds
Courtney Williams: 14 points, two rebounds

Odyssey Sims: 20 points, eight assists
Courtney Paris: 14 points, 11 rebounds
Plenette Pierson: 12 points, five rebounds

UP NEXT:

Each team has two more games until the month-long break for the Summer Olympics.