Tue, 26 Oct 2021

Wings win, deny Sparks final playoff spot

Field Level Media
20 Sep 2021, 09:40 GMT+10

Arike Ogunbowale scored 20 points and Isabelle Harrison added 14 off the bench on 7-of-7 shooting as the Dallas Wings defeated the visiting Los Angeles Sparks 87-84 on Sunday afternoon in Arlington, Texas, in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The Wings' victory kept Los Angeles from earning the eighth and final spot in the playoffs and allowed the New York Liberty to head to the postseason. Los Angeles, Washington and New York all finished the season at 12-20 but the Liberty advanced because they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against both the Sparks and the Mystics.

Dallas had already clinched the seventh seed in the playoffs and will open the postseason in Chicago on Thursday.

The Wings (14-18) led by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter and by a game-high 13 a minute into the final period. Los Angeles got as close as three points after a 3-pointer by Erica Wheeler with 7.4 seconds left but could claw no closer.

Marina Mabrey hit for 16 points off the bench for Dallas, with Allisha Gray scoring 12.

Te'a Cooper led all scorers with 24 points while Wheeler scored 22 and Nneka Ogwumike had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Sparks. Only seven players saw action for short-handed Los Angeles, and by the end the Sparks ran out of gas.

The Sparks knew by tipoff that a win would grant them a spot in the postseason, but Dallas -- with nothing to gain -- showed that it would not make that easy. The Wings broke away from a 13-13 tie by scoring eight of the next nine points before settling for a 21-16 advantage after one period.

Los Angeles rallied to a 37-32 lead after a basket by Ogwumike and a 3-pointer by Cooper, the latter with 3:50 to play in the half. The Wings answered with two free throws from Gray and a Harrison layup. After the Sparks' Amanda Zahui B hit a layup of her own, Ogunbowale's 3-pointer tied the game at 39.

Gray's 3-pointer and another bucket by Ogunbowale staked Dallas to a 44-39 lead before two Wheeler free throws brought Los Angeles to within 44-41 at the break.

Cooper led all scorers in the half with 17 points while Mabrey paced Dallas with 10.

--Field Level Media

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