Arlington, TX -- Over 30 kid's camps gathered in Arlington, Texas to form a solid crowd to watch the Dallas Wings try to avenge their previous loss against the Connecticut Sun in their last home game before the Olympic break. The Wings' efforts proved to be for naught, losing to the Sun, 89-78, thanks to Chiney Ogwumike's standout performance.
Both teams started the game cold. The basket was closed, especially for the Wings, as it took almost five minutes for the team to put points on the board. Dallas had no issues getting shot attempts, but making them was another story.
The Wings started off missing all of their first eight field goal attempts.
Connecticut, on the other hand, found their momentum quickly and ended the first half on a season high, shooting 56 percent. Jasmine Thomas was the catalyst for Dallas, with her penetration and pull-up shots.
"[I'm] really proud of the defense," said Sun head coach, Curt Miller. "We stuck to the game plan...and made a lot of plays that we needed to play, and had a great game by Chiney (Ogwumike)."
Ogwumike played incredibly on both defense and offense, scoring a career-high 26 points. More than once she would beat everyone down the court and be rewarded with a pass from a teammate to finish the transition play with a lay-up.
The Sun's Jasmine Thomas also shined as bright as the sun, scoring nine of her 20 points in the first half.
The Wings picked up the pace, but still struggled to find the fluidity on offense. Coming off an overtime loss in their previous game, the Wings looked tentative and continually lost confidence after missing shot after shot.
Dallas finished the first half shooting 34 percent. The Wings were not getting their usual scoring performance from anybody yet, especially Skylar Diggins and Karima Christmas.
College Park Center could have been confused for a tennis court due to the speed the crowd had to switch their view.
"We played aggressive. We have a new vibe; we're very optimistic as a team," said Ogwumike. "I'm really proud of our team and our effort and how we're not letting things go before the Olympic break -€" we're staying hungry."
Weak offense from Dallas and strong defense from the Sun, had both teams running up and down the court to find team synergy. Connecticut really turned their defensive stops into offensive scoring opportunities.
Connecticut took off with their momentum to push to a 15-point lead over the Wings, 48-33, at intermission.
"Our guards were doing a really good job of being aggressive," noted Ogwumike. "We're aggressive attacking the defensive boards; our offense is best that way."
Dallas looked like an entirely different team after halftime. The team increased their offensive aggression and showed trust in each other with quick passing. A huge reason for that was the play of starting guard, Odyssey Sims. She began to dominate for the Wings with her strong drives, finishing through as many as three Connecticut defenders.
Wings' Courtney Paris achieved a new season high of 14 points throughout the first three-quarters.
The Wing's second-half confidence put the Sun lead on a yo-yo. Throughout the third quarter, the Sun was leading the Wings anywhere between four and 15 points.
But, Dallas still couldn't come back from behind Connecticut and Ogwumike's 22 points in the first three-quarters.
Connecticut began the fourth quarter with tenacity, stretching their lead to 19 points over the Wings. This season the Sun have given away games because they have struggled to hold off teams who come back on them - today they showed they learned from their previous games and extended their lead.
Ogwumike exploded in the fourth quarter as she forced turnovers and scored 26 points throughout the game, a new season and career high.
"Staying aggressive on both ends of the floor is key for us," said Ogwumike. "But then also playing to our strengths and using our young legs."
Ogwumike did just that throughout the game, confidently shooting and aggressively attacking the ball on defense helped the Sun pull out a win, finishing the game 11 points ahead of the Wings, 89-78.
Dallas will try to regroup against the Atlanta Dream in their next game, coming off a five-game losing streak.
Ogwumike and the rest of the Sun will enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation during the Olympic break, but not before they take on the Chicago Sky on Friday.