With three minutes left in the game, the score was tied at 87.
The Wings and the Aces found themselves in this tight, sweat-drenched battle after the teams tied the first quarter at 28, the Wings won the second quarter by three points and the teams tied the third quarter at 20 points apiece.
But Dallas pulled away for the win before a raucous Las Vegas crowd due to the veteran leadership of Skylar Diggins-Smith and her team-high 29 points. Ms. Double Feature (known by some as Liz Cambage) did it again (17 points and 11 rebounds in a Wednesday night double-double), while Azura Stevens contributed 10 points and Glory Johnson added 14 off the bench.
After 23 lead changes and the game being tied up 18 times, game-high scorer Kayla McBride — with the bedraggled appearance of someone engaged in gladiatorial combat — just kept shooting ... and shooting. The result? A game-high 38 points, which is a career high for McBride.
To add mayhem to madness, it’s important to note that McBride scored her 38 points in 37 minutes. She did it by shooting 14-of-22 from the field, going 2-of-2 from beyond the arc and making 8-of-9 free-throw attempts. She dished 3 assists and stole the ball twice, just to discourage her enemies.
Scoring from any spot on the court, with no signs of slowing, had to be frustrating for the Wings. Whether shooting from three-point range, making a mid-range jumper or driving to the basket for a layup, McBride’s shots went into the hoop and she only picked up two personal fouls for the game. But her super-neat dagger trick was drawing fouls on opponents. If a player is that aggressive on offense, someone is paying the price on defense. For the Wings, it was Azura Stevens, who fouled out of the game with six, and Kayla Thornton and Ariel Powers picked up four personal fouls apiece.
Not to be outdone in the double-double department, Las Vegas had one of their own: A’ja Wilson scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.
With this game about even in team totals across the box score, it was truly either team’s game to win. When they meet again on August 17, fans should expect nothing less than a battle straight out of the Roman Colosseum with the Aces on the hunt for victory.
Final score: Wings (97) vs. Aces (91)
Sun (101) vs. Fever (89)
Indiana tied the second and fourth quarters (22-all and 25-all, respectively), and they won the third 28-24. But another slow start cost them the game.
After falling behind by 16 points after the first quarter, it proved too big of a hole for the Fever to dig themselves out of. The inability to make quick in-game adjustments, especially at the start of games, has led this team to the losing column all season. Alternatively, Indiana has demonstrated a strong ability to finish games well, but the losses keep piling up because they are getting into sync too late to overcome a deficit of points. It makes sense that Fever Head Coach Pokey Chatman may be looking for her players to figure it out on their own. But perhaps an early time-out when the team gets down by more than seven points in the first quarter, to help the players reset by executing a drawn-up play, would enable the Fever to convert late-game efforts into wins.
But the Sun got the win behind double-digit scoring from five players: Chiney Ogwumike and Jonquel Jones each scored 21 points (and Ogwumike snatched 10 boards for a double-double), Courtney Williams scored 13 points, Shekinna Stricklen scored 12 and Jasmine Thomas contributed 10.
The Sun snapped their four-game losing streak against the Fever on June 24, lost to the Mystics on June 26, but seized the opportunity to get a win against a team they know they can beat (with the contest being the second game in a back-to-back being of little importance).
The Sun are now tied with the Lynx at 8-6, and occupy the fifth spot in the standings. The broken Fever, meanwhile, remain dead last with a 1-13 record and have now fallen a full three games behind the New York Liberty, who are now in the 11th spot behind the 10th-spot Aces.
Performance of the night
Next up in the WNBA
Two nationally-televised games are on the schedule for Thursday.
Stay tuned for previews!