Diggins-Smith leads Wings past Dream

By Dorothy  Gentry

The Wings were down by nine in the first quarter of their Sunday afternoon home opener with a little over five minutes to go.

Head coach Fred Williams called a timeout and told his team to relax.

“I said just relax. Don’t go to the game, let the game come to you,” Williams said afterward. “Just be patient with the ball movement. One extra pass and you’ll get some things inside. I think what I’ve learned about our team so far is that we will fight back to get ourselves back in the game.”

Photo: Tim Clayton

Photo: Tim Clayton

And fight they did.

After that timeout, the Wings never looked back as they routed the Dream 101-78 behind Skylar Diggins-Smith’s 25 points and Liz Cambage’s 21 points.

In fact, the dynamic duo of Cambage and Diggins-Smith combined for a total of 46 points, the second consecutive game they have combined for over 35-plus points in a game.

“It was unfortunate to lose to Phoenix the other night. We came back just wanting to win, needed to get this first win at home,” Cambage said. “I think we’ve really developed a lot since the last game. We had better team movement and a better team game tonight.”

Added Diggins-Smith, “It was opening day for us and everyone was very excited obviously. And then coming off a tough game in Phoenix, we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. They came out aggressive but we were able to settle ourselves and establish ourselves on the inside.

“Liz is aggressive and I’m aggressive so they kind of had to pick their poison.  And I think me making a few threes in that first quarter helped spread things out.”

Other key notes from tonight’s win:

* Four Wings' players ended the day in double figures, including Kayla Thornton (15 points),  who got the start for an injured Glory Johnson.

* Kaela Davis’ 15 points were a season high. She also led the team in total assists with five,

which is a new career high.

* Karima Christmas-Kelly scored her first double-double of the season with 15 points and 10

rebounds. It is the first double-double for the captain since the 2016 season.

* The Dream were led by Angel McCoughtry, who scored 13 points and notched her 5,000th career point.

* Coach Nicki Collen on the Dream’s first game of the season: “I think with any new roster it is a process. I think there were good things that happened and not so good things.

“If you look at the breakdown it was pretty much even in the first, third and fourth quarters. It came down to that huge run. We cannot give up 37 points in a quarter and expect to win games in this league,” she said. “They made a run. We hit first, but when they hit back we did not respond to that. With foul trouble, we had some of our starters sit and that was a huge difference for us.”

* The Wings will head to Minnesota to face the defending WNBA champion Lynx on Wednesday to begin a three-game road trip. The team will travel to Atlanta and then to New York following Wednesday’s game before coming home June 2 to face the Storm.