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Stagnant starts continue for Dallas — but grit prevails

After taking the lead for the first time all game with 1:27 left, the Wings held on to take a heartbreaker from the winless Stars, 81-78. Monique Currie’s 29 points for San Antonio led the way but it wasn't enough.

Tim Heitman - NBAE

Arlington, TX Starting another game slow continued for the Dallas Wings who just can’t seem to get things going early on. The Wings were down by 10 at half in their win against Washington on Sunday and down by seven at half against Minnesota on June 11.

Today, a Wings team, who was looking to string together consecutive wins for the first time this season, found themselves down at the half, yet again, to an 0-11 San Antonio Stars team.

The Stars scored first and never relinquished their lead the entire first half. Though the Wings tried to keep it close, they shot only 32.3% from the field and had several defensive miscues.

“I thought they definitely popped us in the mouth in the first quarter,” said Dallas guard Skylar Diggins-Smith.

“We understand that we need to be a better first quarter team and not play with a sense of urgency only when we get down. That is something we have to improve on.”

However, their continued success at the free throw line kept the game from becoming out of reach. After some clutch free throws by Diggins-Smith led to a victory against Washington on Sunday, Dallas was 16-18 from the line in the first two periods today.

Despite their woes, the Wings only trailed by five.

After their slow start, an inspired Dallas team took the court in the second half. The Wings scored the first five points of the half to even the score for the first time all game. Dallas couldn’t muster up a 33-13 run in the 4th quarter like they did the last time they played San Antonio, but they did take the lead for the first time all game with only 1:27 left.

It came down to the wire, which is typical of this Dallas team, but they were able to hold on to steal an absolute heartbreaker from the still-winless Stars.

San Antonio Coach Vickie Anderson was pleased with the Stars performance, but felt they just couldn’t finish.

“Overall, we did well,” she said.

“I just felt like we didn’t finish the game. I think we played well for 37 minutes — the last three, we got nervous as far as winning the basketball game. We played not to lose instead of playing to win. I think that really hurt us.”

The Wings have now strung together two consecutive wins for the first time this season, which is imperative in digging themselves out of their losing record.

It’s now Dallas’ turn to head to San Antonio to take on the Stars again on Friday. The season is a marathon, not a sprint, and if the Wings can continue to grind out these wins, they are headed in the right direction.

“I thought we just had to grind it out and play hard defensively,” said Wings Head Coach Fred Williams.

“I thought San Antonio played a great game... We just had to bear down. We kept ourselves in it and were able to hit big shots when we needed it.”

Maybe this is a team that plays better with their backs against the wall. With veterans like Diggins-Smith and Glory Johnson leading the way, sometimes the will to win is as important as the skill to win — and when you have both, which they do, good things can happen.

This team has grit, and with the toughest stretch of their schedule beginning on Sunday they are going to need it.