The Dallas Wings (10-21) couldn’t complete a late comeback in a 91-85 loss to the Washington Mystics (23-8) on Saturday at College Park Center.
The Wings came into the game having been eliminated from postseason contention when the Phoenix Mercury locked up the WNBA's final playoff spot Thursday. That didn’t stop the Wings from making things difficult for the Mystics in the fourth quarter, outscoring the visitors 22-8 as they cut a 23-point deficit down to six.
Head coach Brian Agler said he wishes the team had its late sense of urgency throughout the entire game. His lineup of three rookies — guard Arike Ogunbowale, and forwards Kristine Anigwe and Megan Gustafson — impressed him as during Dallas’ comeback bid in the fourth quarter.
“I think we have a good foundation that were starting to build here that we’ll see as time goes on,” Agler said.
Ogunbowale finished the matchup with 30 points, making her the third rookie in WNBA history to post back-to-back 30-point games. Forward Glory Johnson was vital in the Wings’ comeback bid, scoring 20 points and shooting a career-high 6-11 from the 3-point line.
Johnson said the fourth quarter highlighted what the team can be when it defended well and linked up on offense, but playing catch up the entire game didn’t allow them to fully realize it throughout the night.
“We still need to figure out how to focus more on, defensively, playing together,” Johnson said. “You see it in spurts and that’s how we can come back from a 20-point deficit. When we want to do it and we really focus on doing it, it gets done.”
Washington outshot Dallas in the first quarter to take the lead, staying perfect from beyond the arc in five attempts.The Mystics tore through the Wings’ defense to take a 19 point lead, but Ogunbowale stormed to 14 total points by the second quarter to help cut the deficit.
A trio of 3-pointers in the half by Johnson and a last-second layup from Gustafson cut the lead to 13 points to bring the score to 56-43.
Washington extended its lead to 23 points by the third quarter, but Dallas cut it to 14 early in the fourth quarter. Johnson hit her sixth 3-pointer to help lead a Wings revival while Ogunbowale sank a pair from the charity stripe to pull within six of the Mystics as time ran out for Dallas.
The final period showed that the future is bright for Dallas, Ogunbowale said, and the Wings could be a contending team in the coming years.
“I’m super, super, super excited for what’s to come,” she said. “We have a nice little core of people and we’re going to add a lot of players next year.”
Dallas travels to the east coast to play the Connecticut Sun at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.