Wings, Aces Battle For Final Playoff Spot
By Nicholas LeTourneau
If you like a heavy dose of parity in your sports, then the WNBA has been for you this season. When the All-Star break hit, the Dallas Wings looked like a team that was for sure going to make the playoffs behind MVP candidate Liz Cambage and fellow All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith but since then they have imploded and are in a fight with Las Vegas for the final playoff spot.
Head coach Fred Williams was fired following an explosive confrontation with team CEO Greg Bigg in Washington after a loss to the Mystics and Cambage has been very vocal about her uncertain future in the WNBA since Williams was fired. Pair that with trading Aerial Powers, who has played extremely well for the Washington Mystics, and minor injuries to both Diggins-Smith and Cambage, and things just haven’t been going Dallas’ way.
Las Vegas on the other hand has overperformed on their season expectations. After having back-to-back No. 1 overall picks, moving from San Antonio to Las Vegas, and having a new head coach, most people were expecting them to be a lock for close to last place. Thanks to All-Star super rookie A’ja Wilson, All-Star Kayla McBride and a good supporting cast of players, the Aces are in the conversation for the eight seed.
The Aces have had no shortage of losses on the season but look like things are clicking at the right time. They have won their past two games (against two of the worst teams in the league in New York and Indiana) but are playing with supreme confidence. Dallas is in the middle of a gigantic nine-game losing streak and haven’t won in nearly an entire month but they are 3-0 against Las Vegas this season.
Their first two games were easily won by the Wings with a point differential of 11.5 points but in the third matchup, Las Vegas was able to hang tough and only lost by 6. Friday’s game will be in Dallas, but given their implosion and Las Vegas’ confidence it will be no easy contest for the Wings. One positive is that Dallas will have both Diggins-Smith and Cambage in the lineup.
If Las Vegas wins this game they need one of two things to happen in order to make the playoffs — Atlanta to lose a game or the Wings to lose their final game on Sunday against the Seattle Storm, the runaway best team in the league this year. All Dallas needs to do to make the playoffs is beat the Aces Friday, so it is do or die for the Wings since a win in Seattle in their final game in Key Arena will be very hard to pull off.