For the second time in five days, the Dallas Wings were bested by the Las Vegas Aces, this time being a score of 65-61 on Saturday, August 3rd in Dallas, TX. The previous matchup, which took place a few days earlier on July 30th in Vegas, the Aces also won in dominating fashion 86-54.
Arike Ogunbowale and Kaela Davis, both led the way for Dallas with 15 and 13 points, but it wasn’t enough down the stretch as they faltered in the game and seemingly in a struggling season, which looks to be out of reach when any word of playoffs comes in the conversation. The hard-fought battles are their night in and night out, but sitting at 6-16 and last, in the Western Conference, they are left scratching their heads as to how they have come so close only to see another chance of winning in the final minutes taken away by mental mistakes.
The Wings came into the game vs. Vegas (15-8) having previously snapped their 6 games losing streak to the New York Liberty. They had every reason to believe they can turn things around and build some momentum off of that win. But as the final minutes of this particular game against the Aces winded down, the ghosts of their recent streak came back to haunt them. Aces guard Kayla McBride drilled a final-minute 3-point rainmaker that put victory out of reach for Dallas, thus putting them in the same position as they were in their recent losing streak, and that means finishing games. It was a close game, but as Dallas keeps on learning from their mistakes, it comes with a cost of being on the short end of game outcomes. The best they can do is keep their head high and battle on to the next as they face the Seattle Storm. The bounces, at some point, will go their way.
Playing the same team twice in a span of five days can be a tough task mentally, meaning the focus would require another look in the mirror for both teams to change their game if necessary the second time around. To not let up if you’re looking to be on the winning side of both matches can be easy to do, especially if you are shorthanded the second time. The Aces (1st in the Western Conference) were in that exact predicament as 2019 All-Star selections Liz Cambage and A’Ja Wilson were not available in the lineup for this game.
Leave it to the only other All-Star left in the lineup to take leadership and poise down the stretch for the win, and that was 6-year veteran Kayla McBride, who finished with a game-high 16 points, and that includes the game-winning 3 pointer with under a minute left. “I always live by ‘If I can see the rim, I got a shot’”, said McBride about the final shot. She stepped up in a role where it looked like she was a seasoned vet, “(I’ll) be whatever my team needs me to be.”
Aces coach Bill Laimbeer reiterated “We are fortunate that we got a win on the road.” Even if it means being the top team in the West that’s looking to lock up the top seed before the playoffs. Between All-Star Kayla McBride having a career year, and Liz Cambage and A’ja Wilson rejoining the lineup soon, the Las Vegas Aces will be a team looking to make some noise and momentum as the season moves on.