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Preview: Wings hope they can hang with Aces again, and win this time

The Dallas Wings had a 14-point lead on the Las Vegas Aces on Wednesday before losing by seven.

Dallas Wings v Las Vegas Aces
Crystal Dangerfield
Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

Friday night’s WNBA slate is highlighted by a rematch of Wednesday’s game between the Las Vegas Aces and Dallas Wings. The Aces came back from down 14 to win by seven, 89-82, improving to 16-1 while the Wings fell just below .500 at 8-9.

To me, Dallas is the fifth-best team in the WNBA; remember, they’ll likely be even better when they get Diamond DeShields and Lou Lopez Sénéchal back. They have a phenomenal big three in Satou Sabally, Arike Ogunbowale and Natasha Howard, and as much height as you could ask for with Teaira McCowan and Kalani Brown both on the roster.

However, it has been a struggle for the Wings to maintain hold of fifth place. If they had held on to their comfortable lead on Wednesday, they would be in fifth right now and they can hardly be blamed for losing to the 16-1 Aces. But they need to do a better job of taking care of business against weaker teams. If they can steal one from the Aces Friday night at home, that would be huge.

Dallas Wings v Las Vegas Aces
Candace Parker
Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

Indiana Fever (5-12) at Washington Mystics (9-7)

The Mystics have at times this season, and even in the preseason according to some, been considered contenders to win it all. Yet, they currently stand three games behind the third-place Sun and just one game ahead of the fifth-place Dream; they are much closer to being middle of the pack than they are to being among the elite, at least based on their record.

The injuries haven’t helped their cause. Entering this game against the Fever, Shakira Austin and Kristi Toliver are out and Elena Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud are questionable. Washington could really use a win here, but its depleted roster didn’t look so good in its last outing, an 89-72 loss to Dallas.

The Fever are in even more desperate need of a win. They’ve lost five in a row to fall out of the playoff picture. It really seemed like they had things turned around five games ago.

Atlanta Dream (8-8) at Chicago Sky (8-9)

The streaking Dream face the streaking Sky. Both are winners of three straight. Atlanta was No. 7 in our preseason power rankings, so it’s not too surprising to see them in fifth place. Chicago, meanwhile, was in 10th in our preseason power rankings and got off to a surprising 5-3 start before losing six in a row.

The Dream can truly challenge the Wings for that No. 5 seed; their big three of Rhyne Howard, Allisha Gray and Cheyenne Parker is looking nearly as good as Dallas’ big three. Both groups have two All-Stars and the two Howards were both snubs.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if Courtney Williams continues to score a lot of points for the Sky or if she goes back to scoring very little while still racking up the rebounds and assists.

Phoenix Mercury (3-13) at Minnesota Lynx (8-9)

The Mercury suffered six double-digit defeats in a row before beating the Fever by 22, losing to the Lynx by 10 and finally losing to the Liberty by just four in their most recent contest. The Liberty loss was certainly promising, but for the most part the Mercury have had a woeful 2023. They are underdogs in pretty much every game they enter, and this will be a tough one on the road without Diana Taurasi (rest).

Meanwhile, only the Aces have a longer winning streak than the Lynx, who have won four in a row. Diamond Miller may have been held to one point in her last outing after averaging 20.7 over her first three back from injury, but Napheesa Collier cannot be slowed. She’s scored 16-plus 14 times in a row.

Game information

Indiana Fever (5-12) vs. Washington Mystics (9-7)

When: Friday, July 7 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.

How to watch: ion

Fever injury report: Erica Wheeler (probable: groin)

Mystics injury report: Natasha Cloud (questionable; ankle), Elena Delle Donne (questionable; ankle), Shakira Austin (out; hip), Kristi Toliver (out; foot)

Atlanta Dream (8-8) vs. Chicago Sky (8-9)

When: Friday, July 7 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL

How to watch: ion

Dream injury report: Aari McDonald (out; shoulder)

Sky injury report: Ruthy Hebard (probable/available; maternity leave), Isabelle Harrison (out; knee), Rebekah Gardner (out; foot)

Las Vegas Aces (16-1) vs. Dallas Wings (8-9)

When: Friday, July 7 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: College Park Center in Arlington, TX

How to watch: ion

Aces injury report: none

Wings injury report: Kalani Brown (questionable; head), Diamond DeShields (out; knee). Lou Lopez Sénéchal (out; knee)

Phoenix Mercury (3-13) vs. Minnesota Lynx (8-9)

When: Friday, July 7 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Target Center in Minneapolis, MN

How to watch: ion

Mercury injury report: Diana Taurasi (out; rest); Skylar Diggins-Smith (NWT; maternity leave)

Lynx injury report: Aerial Powers (out; ankle), Jessica Shepard (out; illness), Tiffany Mitchell (out; wrist), Natalie Achonwa (NWT; maternity leave)