Dallas Wings unable to keep pace with Las Vegas Aces in 92-84 loss

ARLINGTON — For the first half of Wednesday’s matinee game between the Aces and Wings, visiting Las Vegas did not look like the league’s best team.

Dallas took it to them on both sides of the ball and entered the half up nine points.

The second half was a different game.

Arike Ogubowale had 28 points and a returning Marina Mabrey had 18 off the bench for Dallas, but it wasn’t enough to overpower a refocused Las Vegas team. Kelsey Plum had 27 points and A’ja Wilson had 25 as the Aces overcame a 16-point first-half deficit to win, 92-84.

One of the main reasons for Las Vegas’ great start to the season is its ability to push the pace, dominate in transition and make opponents play at their rhythm.

In the first meeting between the two teams — an 84-78 win for the Aces in Las Vegas on June 5 — Las Vegas had 19 fast-break points and forced 19 Dallas turnovers.

Despite the return of Aces star guard Jackie Young, who entered averaging 19 points per game, Las Vegas wasn’t able to grab control. Instead, the Wings forced them to play off their tempo.

Sometimes that meant pushing the ball in transition to get easy buckets. Other times it meant locking up defensively and forcing Las Vegas to set up in the half-court and take contested shots.

And sometimes it meant just letting Ogunbowale do her thing.

The All-Star guard had 17 points in the first half, scoring in a variety of ways and giving the Aces defense fits. Dallas held the Aces to only two fast-break points in the first half and took a 44-35 lead into the break.

Las Vegas came out of halftime energized and tried to wrangle control of the game. They did so by emphasizing getting the ball down low, and therefore exploited the Wings’ season-long problem of points allowed in the paint.

The Aces scored 31 points in the third quarter — 16 of which came in the paint. Plum had a quarter-high 10 points while Wilson went 4-for-4 from the field.

Dallas meanwhile had only 16 points and looked a step behind for a good portion of the quarter.

Even within the forgettable quarter, the Wings kept the game from snowballing out of hand. They started the fourth quarter down only six and kept it at single digits the rest of the way.

Mabrey hit a 3-pointer at the 4:05 mark to make it a 78-76 score, but Dallas wasn’t able to regain the lead.

The Wings had their chances to take control but could never get a shot to fall at the right time.

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