Wings can clinch playoff berth with win over Liberty
The Dallas Wings will bring a league-best four-game winning streak into play when they host the New York Liberty on Monday in a key late-season game in Arlington, Texas.
The contest is the first of two between the teams over a three-day period, which will have plenty to say about both squads' postseason chances. The Wings and Liberty are among six teams battling for final three spots in the WNBA playoffs.
A win either Monday or Wednesday over New York will be enough to ensure Dallas a playoff berth.
Dallas (16-16) picked the right time to get hot, and has moved to the head of the pack. After Sunday's results, the Wings are solidly in sixth place, 2 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta and Phoenix and three in front of New York with four games left to play.
Dallas put itself on the doorstep via a 95-91 overtime win at home over reeling Indiana on Saturday. The Wings had to come back from a 20-point second-quarter deficit to post the victory.
Six players scored in double-figures for Dallas in the win, with Kayla Thornton leading the way with a career-high-tying 21 points.
"This stretch is getting kind of close with playoffs -- that six through nine is tight and every game is important," Thornton said afterward. "I'm just proud of our team that we're finally coming together and understanding the main goal of what we have to do."
New York (13-19) is still in the playoff chase just a half-game behind eighth-place Phoenix with four to play. The Liberty missed a chance to leapfrog the Mercury when they lost on the road to short-handed Phoenix 76-62 on Saturday.
"We did not come ready to play, and it's really, really disappointing because at this time of the year, you expect that they have a better fight here," Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said after the loss. "I can't even say anyone was good for us tonight."
The defeat overshadowed a record-breaking night for New York's Sabrina Ionescu as she became the first player in WNBA history with at least 500 points, 200 assists and 200 rebounds in one season.
Ionescu finished with 20 points on Saturday despite 1 of 8 shooting from beyond the arc. No other New York player scored more than seven points.
"We go to Dallas, and we have to win two there," Ionescu said. "We're focused on the next game, and we have to continue to grind away."
--Field Level Media
Updated August 7, 2022