Wings pull off big upset over Aces as Tierra McCowan hits late game-winner

Wings pull off big upset over Aces as Tierra McCowan hits late game-winner


Much of Thursday night’s fourth quarter was a disaster for the Dallas Wings, as they watched their 14-point lead over the Las Vegas Aces melt away with just over eight minutes left. But with less than 30 seconds left in the game and the score tied at 80, they had a chance to prove their hard work early in the game was not in vain.

Taking control, Ty Harris allowed most of the shot clock to run down before calling a high screen from Tierra McCowan. Coming off the screen, Harris got enough angle on Kelsey Plum to force Aja Wilson onto the drive, leaving McCowan wide open under the basket. Harris lobbed a perfect lob over the top of the defense and McCowan scooped the ball up and in to put the Wings in front again.

After Wilson missed a point-blank layup that could have sent the game into overtime, the Wings escaped with an 82-80 win over the second-place Aces. It was the Wings’ third straight win and fourth in their last five games. The hot streak came at just the right time as the Wings improved to 15-16 and solidified their claim to sixth place.

With just five games remaining, they are two games ahead of the New York Liberty and Atlanta Dream in seventh and eighth, respectively, and have a 2.5 game lead over the Phoenix Mercury in ninth. Even if you lose the equalizer in a dream, the opportunities raised by freedom and Mercury are still to be embraced. Regardless, the Wings are now in the driver’s seat to claim a playoff berth for the second straight season — but a midseason slump has looked unlikely.

Most surprising of all is the fact that star guard Arike Ogunbowale and promising young forward Satu Sabali are both sidelined for this run with ankle injuries. So how did they turn their season around even without these? One name: Teaira McCowan.

Thursday night’s hero, who finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds, has been playing the best basketball of her career in recent weeks. McCowan averaged 19.8 points and 12 rebounds on 61.3 percent shooting during the Wings’ 4-1 hot streak and recorded four straight double-doubles.

Acquired from the Indiana Fever in an offseason trade, McCowan had a slow start to his career with the Wings, playing infrequently and struggling to make an impact. But in the last games, she made the move look like a stroke of heaven. If the Wings make the playoffs, which they should at this point, they will have McCow to thank.



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