Dallas Wings Arike Ogunbowale’s 31-Point Effort Falls Short Against A’ja Wilson’s Las Vegas Aces

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It was a physical battle in a sold out College Park Center but the Dallas Wings fell short as A’ja Wilson’s 36 point game pushed the Aces over the Wings 95-81.

Arike Ogunbowale led the Wings with 31 points, four rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Teaira McCowan recorded her first three-pointer in tonight’s matchup while also having a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds.

The Las Vegas Aces got off to a hot start at the College Park Center, with A’ja Wilson dominating by scoring 14 points in the first quarter alone. Following a 5-0 run by Vegas, Dallas had an opportunity to cut the deficit when a shooting foul was called on rookie Kate Martin, sending Maddy Siegrist to the line, where she converted both attempts, bringing the score to 11-27.

However, the Aces’ defense posed a significant challenge for the Wings, as their field goal percentage fell to 19%. As they settled into the second quarter, they improved to 34.2%, thanks to contributions from Teaira McCowan and Arike Ogunbowale.

Ogunbowale hit back-to-back threes to make it a 10-point game with 3:53 on the clock, 29-39. Siegrist, showing improvement from last season, is now considered one of the team’s reliable shooters. In the final seconds of the quarter, Siegrist hit a crucial three-pointer, followed by a two-pointer from McCowan, narrowing the Wings’ deficit to seven points. The Wings went into halftime down 42-47.

Each time it seemed like the Wings were within striking distance, Las Vegas extended their lead. Kelsey Plum and A’ja Wilson played pivotal roles in the Aces pulling away with a 19-point lead, both scoring in double digits alongside Jackie Young and newcomer Tiffany Hayes.

With a little over two minutes left in the game, leading scorer Ogunbowale staged a comeback for the Wings, making back-to-back two-pointers followed by a successful layup from rookie Stephanie Soares. On the next play, Ogunbowale passed down low to Monique Billings, who made the layup, bringing the score to 79-90. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome the defending champs. Young made two consecutive layups to seal the game at 94-79.

Arike Ogunbowale acknowledged post game that A’ja Wilson is such a great player that you can’t stop her, but only limit her. As far as it goes for her and the Dallas squad, she said they need to do a better job at defending the ball.

“We are playing against great defenders every night, you are never going against a team that cannot hold their defense,” said Ogunbowale. “We just have to be smarter and take care of the ball. Starting with me.”

UP NEXT: The Dallas Wings will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Sparks Friday, tip-off is set for 9 p.m. at Crypto.com Arena.