Both of Saturday’s games had playoff implications, as the Wings and Aces are now just a game and a half apart in the standings in the race for the final spot in the top 8. Here’s what happened:
Atlanta Dream 92, Dallas Wings 82
The Dream put up a 29-point first quarter and never looked back, handing the Wings their seventh straight loss. As Atlanta bolstered its own hopes for an automatic bid to the semifinals, Dallas is slowly losing the ability to control its own destiny, even as they still cling to eighth place.
Leading the Dream, who still seem to be recovering decently from Angel McCoughtry’s absence, was Renee Montgomery’s 24 points. Elizabeth Williams added 18 points and Tiffany Hayes had 15. Montgomery, Hayes and Brittany Sykes each had 5 assists, while Williams had all 5 of Atlanta’s blocks.
With Liz Cambage sitting out, the Wings had to rely on their other star, Skylar Diggins-Smith, to get the offense going. Diggins-Smith was more than up for the task, putting up 26 points and 10 assists for the game’s only double-double. Although four other Wings players scored in double figures, including Theresa Plaisance’s 13 and Tayler Hill’s 10 (both off the bench), Dallas shot just 42.3 percent for the game, with no individual players cracking the 50 percent shooting mark.
In spite of McCoughtry’s season-ending injury, Atlanta is still playing like a No. 2 seed that could see the Finals this year. But a short bench could eventually be their downfall, as only the starters had a positive plus-minus in this game. In any case, they still have a lot more to cling onto than the Wings, who could enter the playoffs with a losing record — if they make the cut at all.
Las Vegas Aces 92, Indiana Fever 74
The Aces snapped a five-game losing streak to beat the Fever on Saturday night, and in doing so gained a game on the eighth-place Dallas Wings, who lost earlier in the day. Las Vegas remains on the precipice of elimination, but as Dallas remains in a lengthy losing streak, the Aces stay alive.
Kelsey Plum led the Aces with 20 points, A’ja Wilson added 19 to go with 8 rebounds and Kayla McBride scored 18 points. Moriah Jefferson added 11 points off the bench. Las Vegas shot 46.2 percent from the floor against Indiana’s 36.3 percent, although the Aces were bested from three, making just 4 shots from beyond the arc to Indiana’s 10.
The Fever simply lost control of the game from the start, trailing at the end of every quarter and slowly allowing the Aces to mount lead after lead. Erica Wheeler was the only starter to score in double figures, scoring 13 points. Tiffany Mitchell and Kelsey Mitchell came off the bench to score 11 apiece, with Tiffany Mitchell adding 8 rebounds.
Looking forward, the Aces could be in prime position to take eighth place from the Wings on Friday when the two teams face each other. The Aces face the eleventh-place Liberty on Wednesday, and although a win is never a guarantee for a team fresh out of a long losing streak, the odds are certainly in their favor.
Here are some of the ▶️’s from tonight’s 92-74 victory over the @indianafever.— Las Vegas Aces ♦️♠️ (@LVAces) August 12, 2018
♦️ @kelseyplum10: 20pts, 4reb, 3ast
♠️ @_ajawilson22: 19pts, 8reb, 2stl, 2blk
♥️ @kaymac_2123: 18pts, 3reb, 4ast, 2stl
♣️ @_BonnBonn: 11pts, 2stls
@dearicamarie: 9pts, 9reb, 2ast pic.twitter.com/leZYAFwMXh