The Dallas Wings (10-13) will take on the Minnesota Lynx (9-15) today, July 14, in the third and final regular-season meeting between the two teams. The game will be streamed live on Twitter with coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Though just 1.5 games separate the Wings and Lynx in the WNBA standings, they’ve been headed in opposite directions. Dallas, which dropped its first post-All-Star break game against the Seattle Storm on Tuesday, has lost five of its last seven games dating back to mid-June. One of those losses came to Minnesota — a massive 92-64 Lynx victory highlighted by ex-Wing Moriah Jefferson recording a triple-double against her previous team.
In contrast, when the Wings hosted the Lynx all the way back on May 21, Dallas cruised to a 94-78 win that was decided largely in the third quarter, which the Wings won 36-19.
With the season series between the Wings and Lynx knotted up at one game apiece, Thursday’s matchup carries extra importance. Both Dallas and Minnesota are in the hunt for what will likely be a lower playoff seed, and while the Wings are currently sitting at No. 8 in the WNBA standings and the Lynx at No. 11, things are far from decided; the Los Angeles Sparks and Atlanta Dream also hold 10-13 records, while the Phoenix Mercury (10-15) and New York Liberty (9-14) are in the hunt as well.
To put it simply: There’s a chance a 2022 playoff seed will be decided by a tiebreaker, in which case head-to-head records become extremely important. The Wings and Lynx will be competing for that upper hand.
Granted, with so much basketball left to be played, playoff implications may not be on either team’s radar at the moment. Dallas, in particular, needs the short-term success just as much as the tiebreak advantage a win on Thursday would provide. Guard Allisha Gray will be back with the team after missing the Wings’ most recent game due to personal reasons, which should give their lineup a jolt; on the other hand, forward Satou Sabally is once again listed on the injury report as doubtful, this time after suffering an in-game ankle injury against Seattle.
Regardless of whether Sabally is able to play on Thursday or not, Dallas can ill afford to come out as flat as it did the last time it played in Minnesota. Rebounding will be a point of emphasis — Dallas was crushed 53-30 on the glass by Minnesota in their last meeting — and the Wings can help themselves in that department by shooting a higher percentage from the field. The Wings starting lineup will also be something to keep an eye on; Dallas went with its oft-used starting five of Gray, Arike Ogunbowale, Marina Mabrey, Kayla Thornton and Isabelle Harrison in its previous game against Minnesota, but Wings head coach Vickie Johnson may opt to change things up to give her team a bit of a jolt.