Since the end of the Olympic break, the Dallas Wings (12-16) finished 3-4 and could not get a firmer grip on a playoff spot. While it was still the favorite for the seventh seed, the Wings dropped some winning games disappointingly, highlighted by Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Dream, then losers of 11 games, and a August 20 loss to the Indiana Fever, the weakest team in the league.
Tuesday night (20:00 ET, Amazon Prime) does not offer Dallas an easy opportunity to boost its mail season as it hosts the red-hot, Connecticut Sun (21-6), winners of nine games.
Dallas not only faces the difficult task of slowing down the Joneses – Eastern Conference Player of the Month, current Eastern Conference player of the week and MVP candidate Jonquel en recent Eastern Conference player of the week Brionna – but they’ll have to do it with an exhausted forecourt.
Satou Sabally, who has not played since July 11, remains out with Achilles sore. In addition, the Wings lost the services of Isabelle Harrison last week due to a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Although Harrison does not have the size, strength, and elite defensive instincts needed to slow Jones’s from Connecticut, she has been Dallas’ most trusted player this season, putting together the most effective season of her career.
Without Sabally and Harrison, the Wings could be forced to expand Kayla Thornton as a small ball big or rely more heavily on newcomers Charli Collier and Awak Kuier, who were both in and out (and mostly out) with head coach Vickie Johnson rotation this season.
In Dallas’ August 15 blowout loss in Connecticut, both Collier and Kueir played the four minutes less. However, Collier is coming off her best match since the Olympic break. She scored 10 points and grabbed seven boards against the Dream on Sunday. But, unlike the Connecticut forecourt, the Atlanta frontline tends to be too small.
If the Wings want a chance, they’ll probably need an explosion from Arike Ogunbowale. Still, Ogunbowale had an effective 20 points in the previous game, and Dallas still lost by more than 20 points. As the Connecticut guard staff includes some of the best perimeter defenders in the league in Briann January and Jasmine Thomas, Ogunbowale will have a challenge repeating this shooting and scoring performance, if not improving.
In short, the sun seems to be well placed to win a series of 10 matches.
In other performances, the Washington Mystics (10-17) face the Seattle Storm (19-10). The last time the Mystics visited the northwest of the Pacific, they earned an incredible victory with only eight active players behind a 34-point, 16-rebound double from Tina Charles.
The Mystics will hope to evoke such magic again.
Like Dallas, Washington could not find the stability needed to reach the playing field, which was temporarily trapped in the ninth seed. While Tina Charles returned from her glute strain on Saturday, the WNBA points leader scored just 12 points in a defeat against the Minnesota Lynx. With the return of Elena Delle Donne in question, Washington will need Charles’ best outfit to take down Seattle.
Dallas Wings (12-16) vs. Connecticut Sun (21-6)
When: Tuesday 7 September at 20:00 ET
Where: College Park Center in Arlington, TX
How to watch: Amazon Prime, Bally Sports Southwest + or NESN +
Key to matching: As was the case during his tenure at the Connecticut Sun, head coach Curt Miller rode his starter and all five of his rookies played more than 30 minutes per game this season. Playing your best players is generally a good strategy to win matches, as well as a title. However, it is also important to make sure that your reserves are ready in case of injury or illness. Early in the season, Natisha Hiedeman played strong as an appetizer. In May, she played more than 30 minutes per game, averaging more than 10 points and stealing nearly two. Month by month, her minutes decreased, resulting in only 12.8 minutes per game in August. It may be wise to extend Hiedeman’s minutes in the regular season and make sure she’s fast before the playoffs. If Connecticut can secure a comfortable lead against Dallas, it could be an excellent opportunity for Hiedeman to spend extra time on the track.
Meat Injury Report: Isabelle Harrison (out; health and safety protocols), Satou Sabally (out indefinitely; Achilles), Moriah Jefferson (doubtful; thigh muscle)
Sun Injury Report: Alyssa Thomas (doubtful; Achilles)
Highlight: Swaggy shows off her 38 percent three-point shot
Seattle Storm (19-10) vs. Washington Mystics (10-17)
When: Tuesday 7 September at 22:00 ET
Where: Angel of the Wings Arena in Everett, WA
How to watch: CBS Sports Network of JOE TV
Key to matching: Last Thursday, the Storm achieved their surprising losing streak of three games and defeated the New York Liberty behind a dominant offensive performance from Breanna Stewart. However, Stewart had to play more than 38 minutes. Jewell Loyd, who struggled with her shot again, played nearly 38 minutes. Sue Bird also played more than 30 minutes and for her it was the first time since June. Since Jordin Canada recently suffered a minor knee injury, it is unlikely that these small loads will be reduced. And, unlike the stars of the sun discussed above, the Storm trio are managing the wear and tear of a tiring Olympic experience, something that has apparently contributed to their contribution to three matches. In short, it will be interesting to see how hard head coach Noelle Quinn and her stars try to secure themselves the third seed in the standings.
Storm Injury Report: Jordin Canada (out; right knee), Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (out of season; personal)
Mystics Injury Report: Elena Delle Donne (out; back), Myisha Hines-Allen (out; non-COVID disease)