The Dallas Wings earned their first-ever postseason win and avoided elimination with an 89-79 road victory over the Connecticut Sun on Sunday in Game 2 of the best-of-three first-round series of the WNBA playoffs.
Sixth-seeded Dallas faced elimination after Thursday’s 93-68 Game 1 loss to third-seeded Connecticut, also on the road. Instead, with the win, they force a winner-take-all Game 3 on Wednesday in Arlington.
Kayla Thornton led the Wings with 20 points, and Teaira McCowan added 17 points and 11 rebounds. Allisha Gray had 15 points, eight assists, and three steals for the Wings, while Marina Mabrey scored 14 points.
As a team, Dallas shot 48% (36 of 75) from the field, 11 of 26 (42.3%) from three-point range, and had 28 assists.
The Wings jumped on the Sun and stunned their home fans with an explosive first quarter that allowed them to coast the rest of the way and created enough space to hold off a late rally by Connecticut.
Dallas never trailed, scoring the first seven points of the game en route to a 22-7 lead after the opening quarter. Connecticut’s seven first-quarter points are the second-lowest point total for a quarter in WNBA playoff history.
The Sun never got the score within single digits again, with the Wings holding a 46-30 lead at halftime and a massive 76-47 lead at the end of the third quarter.
A 22-2 fourth-quarter run by Connecticut when both team’s second units were in the game trimmed the Dallas lead to 84-73 with less than two minutes left.
The late rally caused worries for Wings fans across the Metroplex. However, McCowan hit a layup, and Veronica Burton connected on a three-pointer to ease the concerns and extend the Dallas lead back to 14 points with under 70 seconds remaining.
“I think we have to learn how to capitalize,” McCowan said. “With us being a young team, you know, sometimes we get a little sloppy — as you could see at the end. But, I mean, once we tighten that up, it’ll be good for the next game.”
Though the final score may not be indicative of the Wings’ domination during the game, in the end, it is more than enough to secure the victory and send the series to Arlington, where the Wings will play in their first-ever home playoff game.
The Wings franchise has finished at .500 or better only once since relocating from Detroit after the 2009 season. That was in 2015 in Tulsa.
The team, previously named the Shock while in Detroit and Tulsa, relocated to Dallas in 2016. They indeed had never won a postseason game until Sunday.
“Every year our goal is to make the playoffs and for us to be able to take it a step further and get a win, it was very important,” said Gray, who has been with the franchise since 2017. “Now we get to go home to Dallas and play in front of our home fans so we’re very excited about that.”