The Dallas Wings had to battle back from a 20-point deficit to win their WNBA first-round opener against the Atlanta Dream. But in their series-clinching 101-74 Game 2 victory Tuesday, the Wings were sharp from the start as they advanced to the semifinals where they will the meet defending champion Las Vegas Aces.
Dallas became the first team in WNBA history to have seven players score in double figures in a playoff game, led by Arike Ogunbowale's 20 points. She was joined by fellow starters Satou Sabally (13 points), Teaira McCowan (12), Crystal Dangerfield (11), Natasha Howard 10 and reserves Awak Kuier (13) and Kalani Brown (12).
"What a great balanced game from everyone," Dallas coach Latricia Trammell said. "It was just a special night for this organization."
It's the first time the Wings have won a playoff series; the organization had not done that since its last season in Detroit as the Shock in 2009. The franchise moved to Tulsa in 2010, and then to Dallas in 2016. Ogunbowale was the Wings' No. 5 draft pick in 2019.
"It's all about the journey, and to finally get to the semifinals after five years, it's amazing," said Ogunbowale, who also had seven assists. "I definitely wouldn't want to do it with another group."
Trammell, in her first season with the Wings, was shown on ESPN wiping away tears in the final minute of Tuesday's game. Asked about her emotions, she talked about being happy for and proud of the Wings players, saying later that, "Words can't express it." She said she was also thinking of her biggest supporters, who have passed away: Her parents and one of her brothers.
Trammell started her coaching career at the high school level in her native Oklahoma nearly 30 years ago, and also coached collegiately before joining the WNBA. She was asked if she ever envisioned herself in this position when she first started.
"You're dad-gum right," Trammell said. "That's how I thought. You just try to do the right thing, work extremely hard, and surround yourself with successful people and just believe you can do it."
Game 1 of the semifinals between the top-seeded Aces and the No. 4 seed Wings will be Sunday at 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2/ESPN App) in Las Vegas. The Wings went 1-3 against the Aces in the regular season; their 80-78 victory came July 7.
The Wings were the top rebounding team in the WNBA this season, and their depth inside -- five of their double-digit scorers Tuesday were post players -- are strengths Dallas will take into that series.
"Everybody knows Vegas is one of the best teams in the league," Ogunbowale said. "But it's a new season."