September 12, 2021 

The Dallas Wings secure the seventh seed

The Wings are headed to the playoffs for the second time in the organization's history

The Dallas Wings secured the seventh seed in the 2021 WNBA Playoffs with a 77-76 victory over the New York Liberty on Sept. 11. Dallas overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter. The victory was sealed when guard Allisha Gray blocked Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu’s shot as time expired.

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Head coach Vickie Johnson told the media post-game that the game started with defense and ended with defense.

“One thing we talked about before the game as a team; we don’t want anybody else to determine our destiny. We wanted to do it on our own,” Johnson said.

Second-year forward Satou Sabally returned to action after missing the last eight games due to an Achilles injury. Her play was limited as she is not completely healed from the injury. She told the media post-game that she felt good being out there.

“Once you make the decision to be out there you should be confident in your body,” Sabally said.

She scored 13 points and played her guts out. With 38 seconds left in the game, Sabally was subbed out and she threw up in the trash can on the sideline. Sabally said it was just nerves and exhaustion but it had never happened to her before.

Marina Mabrey led the team scoring 21 points, eight rebounds and 6 assists. She told the media post-game that it was an emotional time for the team with players missing and others playing different positions. She said they still found a way to win and the most important part about it was being able to control those emotions and channel them into something better for the team. The third-year guard said she was more emotional than usual because the game was on 9/11.

“My mom was in there, and she wasn’t supposed to be here tonight, so I kind of thought about how we had to put on a show for her and personally I kind of just wanted to thank God that she was here and play my hardest because as always when she said play your hardest and play to win so I wanted to take that emotion and channel it into my team.”

Dallas were without forward Isabelle Harrison who is in the WNBA’s Health and Safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 4. It was a total team effort. Guard Arike Ogunbowale and forward Kayla Thornton scored 13 points. Ogunbowale did not score in the second half and Thornton scored her 13 points in the second half. Thornton told the media post-game that her team did an extreme, absolutely great job sticking together.

“This is a step forward to how playoffs are going to be for us and how they know it’s gonna come down to that, it’s going to come down to doing the little details. I think we have to get better than that, and we will,” Thornton said.

The Dallas Wings has taken themselves to a new level with Johnson at the helm. And when the playoffs start every team is 0-0.

“On any given night we can win, but we’re not going to move too far ahead. We need to focus on Las Vegas and we need to focus on LA coming here.”

Written by Arie Graham

Arie Graham joined 'The Next' in May 2021 as the beat writer for the Dallas Wings.

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