Connecticut Eyeing Franchise’s First Title
One drawback of the first round of the playoffs centers around the players who won’t be taking part. Both Dallas and Connecticut are without key pieces. For Dallas, leading scorer Arike Ogunbowale is not expected to play at all in the series while veteran Connecticut point guard Jasmine Thomas missed the final 31 games of the regular season after suffering a knee injury.
Connecticut went 4-1 with Thomas and 21-10 without her. Dallas split the final four games of the regular season when Ogunbowale was sidelined. Both teams have multiple players who can carry the load offensively.
Dallas had a better record (10-8) on the road than at home (8-10) this season while Connecticut finished tied for the second-best record at home this season with a 13-5 mark.
Connecticut (+400) is third behind Las Vegas and Chicago for the best odds to win the WNBA championship according to the WNBA playoff odds. Dallas is sixth at +3300.
Dallas Not a One-Player Team
There is no question that Ogunbowale is one of the top offensive players in the WNBA. However, the Wings weren’t ready to pack up their bags and call it a season when news hit that Ogunbowale would miss the final four games of the regular season and at least the first round of the playoffs.
Without their top scorer, other players stepped up. Marina Mabrey averaged 21.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in those four games. Teaira McCowan put up 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds while Allisha Gray and Kayla Thornton combined for 24 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per contest.
The confidence the rest of the Dallas team gained from playing without Ogunbowale should serve the Wings well in this series.
Something to consider for those who bet online, the total has gone over in each of the last five games for the Wings.
Depth Key for the Sun
It can’t be easy for teams preparing to play the Connecticut Sun. Which player is the one that the focus will be on trying to slow down?
Jonquel Jones is the reigning WNBA Most Valuable Player. However, there is a reason why Alyssa Thomas has the nickname “The Engine” for the Sun. DeWanna Bonner has something the other Connecticut starters do not, a pair of WNBA championships while Courtney Williams might be the most explosive natural scorer on the team. Brionna Jones is the team’s second-leading scorer despite starting only seven games while Connecticut is 12-3 when Natisha Hiedeman scores in double figures.
Thomas was named the WNBA’s Comeback Player of the Year and Jones won the Sixth Player of the Year by the Associated Press.
The different ways that Connecticut can win games helped them overcome the loss of Jasmine Thomas and has this Connecticut team believing it has what it takes to bring home the franchise’s first WNBA championship.
Connecticut is 4-1-1 against the WNBA betting lines over its last six home games and 5-0-1 against the spread in its last six games.
Wings vs Sun Game Information
- Game: Wings 18-18; Sun 25-11
- Location: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
- Day/Time: Thursday, Aug 18, 8:00 p.m. ET
- Wings vs Sun Live Stream: WNBA.com
Wings vs Sun Betting Lines
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Total||Team Total|
|Dallas Wings||+10 -110||+425||163½ -110o||
|Connecticut Sun||-10 -110||-550||163½ -110u||
Wings vs Sun Prediction
The biggest difference between Dallas and Connecticut could come on the defensive end. While the offensive rating for the teams is pretty close, there is a huge gap on the other end of the floor. Connecticut has the second-best defensive rating in the WNBA at 96.3 while Dallas has the worst defensive rating (104.3) among the eight playoff teams.
Dallas gave up more than 90 points on six occasions. The Wings gave up 89.3 points in the last seven games they lost.
The Wings won two of the three meetings with Connecticut during the regular season. However, both of those came at home and the only way Dallas gets a home game in this best-of-three game series is by winning one of the first two games in Connecticut. In the last game between the teams, this season played at Mohegan Sun Arena, the Sun rolled to a 99-68 win.
Connecticut has won five of the last six home games against Dallas with the margin of victory in those wins by the Sun being 17 points.
Brionna Jones and Courtney Williams are tied for the team lead with 14.7 points per game in the three games against Dallas this season.
Ogunbowale was the top scorer for Dallas against Connecticut at 17.3 points per game. Gray averaged 13.3 points per game in the contests with the Sun as did Satou Sabally. Sabally has missed the last 13 games due to an ankle injury and is questionable for the series opener.
The Sun are heavily favored with a series price of -800 while the number for the Wings comes in at +600.