When Arike Ogunbowale made a little bank-floater from just outside the restricted area with 1:06 remaining in a Thursday night showdown between her Dallas Wings and the Washington Mystics, she ran into Washington’s Erica McCall and knocked her over. Initially, an offensive foul was called on Ogunbowale, negating the basket, keeping the score at 77-76 Mystics and seemingly giving Washington possession with the chance wind some clock and go up by three or four.
However, the play was reviewed by the refs and the call was overturned because McCall’s left foot was just barely in the restricted area when Ogunbowale made contact with her. So the basket counted, a the foul was called on McCall instead and Ogunbowale made the ensuing free throw to put Dallas up 79-77.
The Wings went on to win 82-77 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C., improving their record to 11-14 and moving themselves from tied for eighth with the Los Angeles Sparks to seventh, a half a game ahead of the eighth-place New York Liberty. The Mystics had the chance to move past the Wings and the Sparks if the Sparks lost Thursday night, which they did. A win would have put Washington in playoff position. Instead, it fell to 9-15 and remained in tenth place.
Maybe the Wings still could have won the game had the call not been overturned. Likewise, the Mystics still had the chance to tie the game or take the lead on the next possession. But that possession ended with a missed Myisha Hines-Allen fallaway in the paint. Hines-Allen’s teammate, Ariel Atkins, barely saved the air ball from going out of bounds, but threw it to a spot where it was easy for Ogunbowale to grab it.
On the ensuing Wings possession, Moriah Jefferson missed a deep, desperation three at the end of the shot clock, but Washington’s Theresa Plaisance was unable to corral a difficult rebound, instead knocking the ball out of bounds as she reached for it. That meant Dallas kept possession with 16 seconds remaining. Natasha Cloud was then forced to foul Ogunbowale with nine ticks left as she was running around trying to avoid a foul.
Ogunbowale only made one of two free throws, leaving the door open for the Mystics to tie it without fouling again. However, in heartbreaking fashion, Atkins, one of the best 3-point shooters in the league, had a trey attempt rim out with 3.8 seconds to go. Kayla Thornton hauled in the rebound and was fouled in the process. She made two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
A key factor down the stretch was the absence of Washington superstar Elena Delle Donne, who left the game in the third as a precaution. Delle Donne recently returned form a back injury that had kept her out since the 2019 WNBA Finals.
This was the Mystics first basket of the second half when Delle Donne fought to grab her own rebound twice off missed shots before putting it back in. Didn't feel right afterward. #wnba https://t.co/TF6hDU3Adw— Kareem Copeland (@kareemcopeland) August 27, 2021
Ogunbowale finished with 26 points and nine assists, while Isabelle Harrison notched 21 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. Moriah Jefferson added 11 points and seven boards and No. 2 overall pick Awak Kuier posted a career-high nine points in a career-high 22 minutes and 33 seconds of playing time.
The fourth quarter was close throughout, but the Mystics had led by as much as 12 (early in the second). The Wings went on a 10-1 run from 9:07 in the third to 5:45 in the third to tie the game. They went on to lead by as many as four points in the remainder of the third. The run began with four-straight points from Harrison. Later, Ogunbowale converted on a 3-point play and then took a gutsy three from about six feet behind the arc and made it, tying the game at 46 with 6:01 to go in the third.
Hines-Allen (four assists) and Plaisance (two steals) combined to go 5-of-6 from beyond the arc for Washington and had 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Good morning to everyone, but especially to fans of the team that won on the road in D.C. last night pic.twitter.com/LfMkWDvdAT— Dallas Wings (@DallasWings) August 27, 2021
Las Vegas Aces (18-7) over Atlanta Dream (6-19), 78-71
Aces forward-guard Angel McCoughtry entered the game in this one despite a torn ACL because Vegas wanted her to receive an ovation from the Atlanta crowd. McCoughtry is a Dream legend who played in Atlanta from 2009 to 2019.
The Aces avoided a major letdown against the lowly Dream, coming back from down as much as 10. A’ja Wilson bounced back from a 1-of-15 shooting night from the field with 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Liz Cambage added 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks and Dearica Hamby had 20 points, nine boards and two steals.
Monique Billings was good for 21 points and six rebounds in defeat.
Connecticut Sun (19-6) over Los Angeles Sparks (10-15), 76-72
A Jonquel Jones layup with 18 seconds to go gave Connecticut a two-possession lead and the Sparks were unable to score after that. LA had been on a 7-1 run capped by an Erica Wheeler layup that cut the Sun’s lead to two with 29.3 seconds remaining.
J. Jones finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds while Brionna Jones added 23 points and six boards. Teammates Jasmine Thomas (13 points, six assists, four steals) and DeWanna Bonner (14 points, five assists) were also key.
Wheeler totaled 13 points, six boards and nine helpers while Nia Coffey (two blocks) tossed in 18 points in defeat.
The Sun remained in first place.