Despite Sky’s Historic Win, Wings Still Contenders

 

By Chris Kwiecinski

 

There might not have been a more desolate scene than the Dallas Wings’ locker room after they fell to the Chicago Sky, 114-99, Friday night.

Everyone was quiet, and understandably so after losing to the team that’s 10th in the WNBA standings after going 4-1 in the past 10 days.

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But, a game like this isn’t indicative of the Wings’ skill. They’re still going to be a contender when the playoffs open on August 21.

Chicago overshadowed everything the Wings did Friday.

The Sky shot 56 percent from the floor and watched Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams record career highs in assists and steals, respectively. Heck, Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot dropped the seventh triple-double in WNBA history.

All that, and Dallas still put up 99 points. It’s fair to assume that score beats most teams any other night. Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 23 and 21 points, respectively. The team hit 32 free throws and didn’t score less than 23 points in a quarter.

The Wings will be fine, but they won’t make excuses for a game like this. Even after playing back-to-back games, Wings coach Fred Williams and Diggins-Smith refused to use fatigue as an excuse for the loss.

“I ain’t talking about that,” Diggins-Smith said after the game. “It was a poor effort on our part.”

That poor effort isn’t on the offense. Dallas hadn’t scored less than 90 points since July 1. The poor effort Diggins-Smith was referring to was the Wings’ first quarter start and the defense.

“We’re a much better defensive team than what we showed,” Diggins-Smith said.

Williams echoed that: “We left our defense on the plane.”

That was fair to say, but when the losing team scores 99 points it might be fair to throw any defensive stats out. Instead, the key for the Wings moving forward is to eliminate bad starts.

Diggins-Smith has a point, the Wings are 1-5 when they’re outscored in the first quarter, including Friday.

Dallas’ 7-3 record in July is even more evidence of Friday’s game belonging to the Sky. Bottomline, as hot as the Wings have been in July, Chicago had to use a historic night to bring down the Wings.

That doesn’t change the fact that Dallas is a contender with the All-Star break around the corner.

“We’re one of the top-tier teams in the league,” Williams said. “We’ve proved that in the first half of the season. We’ve got a good win percentage right now. We’ve just got to keep playing.”

Cambage is still a front-runner for the league MVP, Diggins-Smith is one of the league’s premier players and Dallas’ bench is still underrated. The Wings are a contender, don’t let Friday convince you otherwise.