Arlington, TX — For the very first time, the Dallas Wings had zero inactive players on the roster this season. For 22 games in a row, the Wings have had at least one player on the injured-reserve list. For 22 consecutive games, the Wings have been without the 2016 WNBA All-Rookie team member Aerial Powers.
Game number 23 was the break out moment for number 23 Powers.
“It was like Christmas, like you’re waiting around for presents and then it is finally here, and then you go downstairs and you see your presents,” Powers said. “That’s how I felt. I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit nervous but I was excited to be out there with my teammates and finally be healthy.”
Powers last season became a captivating member of the newly-minted Dallas Wings (previously named the Tulsa Shock) with her energy and her ability to make clutch shots. She contributed big time minutes with an average of 19.2 minutes a game and held a respective 40 percent field goal percentage.
Her effervescence made many turn their heads last season, making her return a much-anticipated event. Powers stepped up tonight in light of that building comeback momentum, finishing with 9 points in 19 minutes of play, hitting 2 of those clutch 3’s she’s known so well for.
“She is a good spark. We told her she is no longer a rookie, she is a second-year player in the league,” stated Wings head coach Fred Williams. “She is going to really help us with her energy and effort, but it is going to take a few games to get her in rhythm.”
In other aspects, Dallas had a sluggish start and the Indiana Fever indeed showed up to fight this game to the gritty end. Indiana did a great job of capitalizing on the Wings’ early mishaps and consistently brought a tenacity on the offensive end.
“I think our transition defense was helped by the patience and the execution we had on offense. We took great shots, we weren’t really rushing anything,” Fever guard Briann January said. “We always wanted to make sure we had two back, and we did a great job on that tonight.”
Along with January, Candice Dupree, Tiffany Mitchell, and Natalie Achonwa were all actively pushing the tempo until the final buzzer rang, with all four giving double-digit performances.
The Fever held a consistent lead in the fourth quarter after an impressive first half until the final closing minutes until the Wings stepped up and proved why they’re called a second-half team.
“I thought from the beginning, we came out and we competed at a level to give ourselves an opportunity to win by taking away some of their strengths. But I thought in that fourth quarter, a team scores 31 points, that’s tough,” Indiana’s Head Coach Pokey Chatman said.
Also noteworthy for Dallas was the 2017 WNBA All Star player, Skylar Diggins-Smith. As the team-leader of points per game averaging 18, she did her part in keeping up that high standard of play. Diggins-Smith finished with 21 to lead all scorers, dishing out 4 assists and nabbing 2 steals along the way.
This was the fourth time meeting between the Wings and the Fever this season. With this victory, Dallas leads the series 3-1. The Indiana Fever have a chance of ending their two-game skid with a quick turnaround game against the New York Liberty at home on Friday, July 28.