The WNBA-worst Atlanta Dream have the chance to claim a season series victory if they can beat star rookie Arike Ogunbowale and the Dallas Wings on the road Sunday.
The Dream (6-22) opened 2019 with a 76-72 victory over the Wings (9-19) at home May 24, but wins have been few and far in between since. Atlanta, though, is looking to record back-to-back wins for just the second time this year after recording a 90-87 victory at New York on Friday night.
Renee Montgomery converted a go-ahead layup with 15.8 seconds to play and withstood two late chances by New York to tie or win the game. Tiffany Hayes scored 19 points and Jessica Breland added 11 and 12 rebounds as Atlanta snapped a 12-game losing streak – the team’s longest since opening the 2008 season with 17 straight defeats.
The Dream have not won consecutive road games since a six-game run from July 1-Aug. 12 of last season and are 2-12 on the road this year.
Dallas evened the season series with Atlanta after recording a 71-61 victory at home, with Ogunbowale scoring 17 points to lead the Wings to their first win of the season after an 0-5 start. That type of scoring output has been a regular occurrence in the second half of the season for the fifth overall pick as she vies for WNBA Rookie of the Year honors with Minnesota Lynx center Napheesa Collier.
The two went head-to-head Thursday night in Minnesota, and though Ogunbowale finished with 22 points, Collier countered with 19 as the Lynx cruised to an 86-70 victory. Ogunbowale, Allisha Gray, and Kaela Davis combined for 52 of the team’s points, with their Dallas teammates shooting a combined 8 for 26.
“She still found a way to get some buckets,” Reeve said of Ogunbowale to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But the effort on her was pretty good.”
Ogunbowale leads all rookies in scoring at 16.6 points per game, which also ranks seventh overall. She has scored at least 20 in her last five games and in seven of her last eight, with Dallas splitting the latter span.
While the Wings have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, they are 4 ½ games behind Phoenix for the eighth and final spot with six games remaining. After this contest, all of Dallas’ final five games will be against teams currently sixth or better in the standings.
(Tiffany Hayes photo courtesy Atlanta Dream official Twitter account)