WNBA Weekly Wrap: Wings stun Aces, Stewie erupts for 43 points

Published July 10, 2023, 7:00 PMPolo Bustamante

The Dallas Wings handed the Las Vegas Aces their second loss of the season. Breanna Stewart delivered a 43-point performance against the Phoenix Mercury.

Game of the week

There have been only two teams to beat the Las Vegas Aces this season. The first was their opponents in last year’s Finals, the Connecticut Sun. The second team is a little bit more surprising.

Coming into their match-up against the up-and-coming Dallas Wings, the Aces were gunning for their 10th straight win. It was a little bit surprising that the Wings wouldn’t let the Aces pull away in the first half. It was Dallas that actually started out the game strong, taking an early seven-point lead before the Aces found their footing.

Late in the third quarter though, it looked like the Aces figured things out and were ready to put the game away. They took a double-digit lead after a long bomb by Jackie Young. Once again, it was surprising how the Wings responded. Rather than fold, they fought back. They repeatedly attacked the hoop to cut the Las Vegas lead back down to single digits, keeping the game close.

Dallas’ efforts paid off as they put themselves in a position to win in the end game. With the game tied heading into the final minutes, the Wings got several looks at a game-winner. The first was Satou Sabally’s jumper, followed by a Teaira McCowan shot. Finally, Natasha Howard was fouled on a put-back attempt and she drilled two clutch freebies with less than a second left on the clock to give Dallas the surprising win. 

All five Wings scored in double figures led by Arike Ogunbowale with 21 points. Howard had a 16-11 double-double while McCowan had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Big-time baller

In their loss to the Aces, Breanna Stewart was limited to just 16 points on 40 percent shooting. That was a number way off from what she’s used to.

Stewie bounced back in their following game, dropping 20-8-6 with five steals against her former team, the Seattle Storm. But that’s still not the best game she could have had.

Playing against Britney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury, Stewart showed how high she can take her game to. She scored 43 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, dished out six dimes, and added two blocks to boot. She scored at a 65 percent clip and knocked down 14 of her 16 freebies.

When Stewart scores 25 points – like she did in the succeeding game against the Storm – somehow you’re left wanting for more because of her 40-point explosions.

In the three games after the loss to the Aces, she’s averaging 29.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists on 51.3 percent shooting.

In a word: DOMINANT.

Team in the spotlight

Much has been said about the Aces and their dominance this season. They’re a legitimate super team and the odds on favorites to win the championship this season. But if there’s one team that poses the greatest threat to the Aces’ repeat bid, it’s Stewart and the New York Liberty.

After a slow start against the standards they’re held to, the Liberty are finally figuring things out. They’re right behind the Aces in a lot of statistical categories. They’re second in the league in Net Rating at plus-8.1, second in Offensive Rating, scoring 108.8 points per 100 possessions, and fourth in defensive rating, allowing 100.7 points per 100 possessions (Las Vegas is 2nd).

Unlike the Aces which didn’t have to go through a major roster shake-up, the Liberty brought in several key free agents, which changed the entirety of their starting five. Now that they’re finally understanding how to play with each other and what roles each of them has to play, they’re gaining momentum and are firmly holding on to the second seed in the league at 13-4.

Sure, they haven’t beaten the Aces yet this season. But they have three more tries in August. There might be a new top dog in the league after those three games.

Watch out for… 

Team Wilson and Team Stewart are now set! The captains of this year’s All-Star Game, A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart have made their selections. Here’s how both of their teams look:

Who you got?