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Seattle fails to contain Dallas’ Cambage; winning streak snapped

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Arlington, TX — The post presence for the Dallas Wings is a real present, to say the least. Their dominance in the paint both offensively and defensively, combined with tremendous guard play by Skylar Diggins-Smith (27 points, seven assists), led the Dallas Wings to continue their undefeated home record in the first few games of the 2018 WNBA season.

The Wings were able to scrape past the Storm, 94-90 after withstanding Seattle’s strong comeback.

The return of 6’8 center Liz Cambage has immensely boosted the Wings inside presence and created tough matchups for opposing teams. The Seattle Storm was no different, even with some high-profile posts of their own.

To try to stop the bleeding early, the Seattle Storm put in two of their bigs at one time, rookie Mercedes Russell and former Dallas center, Courtney Paris. But those two couldn’t stop the inside game of Cambage and rookie Azura Stevens for the Wings.

While the post players were taking care of business for Dallas, its outside game also was a force to be reckoned with. With an even balance of scoring in the paint and outside, the Wings blasted out to a 34-20 lead by the end of the opening period.

Their momentum slightly dropped off in the second frame, but Dallas still had a 21-point lead. Diggins-Smith was locked in as she led the way with 20 points before intermission.

“We didn’t start out too well. We kind of dug ourselves into a hole,” stated Seattle’s Jewell Lloyd. “Then, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter, we kind of got into a rhythm. But we have to do a better job of starting the game.”

With the Storm unable to connect on key attempts and being unable to stop the Wings fluidity in the first half, they came out of the locker room at half time with a new mentality. They became much more aggressive guarding Dallas’ ball screens and turned up the heat offensively, closing the gap on the Wings’ lead.

Seattle outscored Dallas 26-11 in the third and heading into the fourth with plenty of fuel, was now only down by two, 64-62.

“Just really trying to be aggressive, trying to make some plays,” shared Seattle’s Breanna Stewart after the game. “Dallas doesn’t have a deep bench right now, because of all their injuries, and we wanted to really push the pace and try and attack them as much as possible.”

Stewart was a key component to why the Storm was able to get back in the game as she led the Storm’s fight with a tenacity on the glass and an ability to finish shots beyond the arc. She finished the game with a team-high 24 points and seven rebounds while her teammate Natasha Howard finished with 19.

Although, fuel doesn’t make up for missing inches. While the Storm gave it their all in the final minutes, the dominant post presence of the Wings was too much to handle. Dallas reestablished its post players – Seattle had no answer for them yet again.

“We did a good job from about the middle of the second quarter on, and kind of put ourselves back in the basketball game,” Storm Head Coach Dan Hughes said. “But down the stretch, I thought we had a hard time dealing with (Liz) Cambage, I thought she was really good. She made it in face-offs and she made it back to the basket.”

Dallas’ Cambage put on a post clinic in the fourth quarter, showing her ability to hit from beyond the arc and also make strong drives to the basket and finishing. She ultimately finished with 25 points in the match-up — 17 in the final stanza. This offensive combination kept the Storm guessing and at bay as the Wings finished the 40 minutes on top, 94-90 and snapped Seattle’s five game winning streak.

“Overall, I like the effort of our team to close out a close game. It is a good lesson for us to learn this early in the season,” Dallas Head Coach Fred Williams said. “This is a tough league. Those are the types of teams that can come back and win games like that.”

Dallas will return to the court June 8 when they play against the Indiana Fever, while Seattle will look to bounce back against Los Angeles on June 7.

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