Dallas Wings clinch playoff berth with 99-96 win over Chicago

Yesterday the Dallas Wings clinched the first playoff berth since moving the franchise to Texas in 2016. The Wings come from a line of WNBA teams with playoff pedigree.  The Detroit Shock won two titles before moving to Tulsa in 2010. The franchise made the 2015 postseason, then moved before moved to Dallas the next season.  Now, the Wings hope to write their own postseason history.

Coming into the game, Dallas knew they could seal their postseason fate with a win. However, they would have to defeat a Chicago team trying to claw into the playoffs. Chicago controlled things early, holding the Wings to 19 first quarter points. The Wings cut the lead to four points at the half and held on to win 99-96.

“I’ve said all along, we’re a relentless team, we don’t give up. We were down by 13 at one point in the first half,” commented head coach Fred Williams after the game.  “I told them at half time, just stay with it, keep pushing the ball and make plays on defense.”

Dallas did better defensively as the game progressed, especially on the boards. However, consistency on defense continues to be an area for improvement for the Wings.

The game may not have been perfect, but it was enough for a win. Dallas will compete in the single elimination round of the playoffs, where enough is all you need to advance.

Forward Glory Johnson wants the team to carry yesterday’s resolve into playoffs, “A lot of teams break down. We’ve broken down before, but we forgot about it, stayed together, and tried to make another push. We just built off of ourselves, and I like that, we need to carry that over.”

For the first time

The Wings are a young team that many expected to be on track in a year or two.  The five rookies are led by experienced players like Glory Johnson and Skylar Diggins-Smith. However, Johnson and Diggins-Smith are embarking on their first professional postseason along with their young teammates.

“The last time the team was in the postseason, I tore my ACL, said Diggins-Smith. “This will be my first playoff experience, and I’m very happy about that.”

The Wings will likely enter the playoffs as the seventh seed and will face the six seed in the first round of the playoffs. Right now, that team is the Phoenix Mercury. It was Phoenix that eliminated Tulsa from the 2015 playoffs. The Wings are 1-2 on the season against Phoenix, including a 101-100 thriller on August 10.

The first round of the playoffs takes place next week Wednesday and Thursday. Two teams will advance to play the New York Liberty or Connecticut Sun on Sunday, September 10.  As of now, the winner of Dallas and Phoenix will travel to Connecticut where the top team in the East is waiting.