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WNBA playoffs: Wings stomp Dream for 1st series win since move to Dallas

Dallas officially has its first WNBA playoff series win. It took five tries.

The Dallas Wings got over a long-standing hump Tuesday with a 101-74 win over the Atlanta Dream, clinching a 2-0 first-round win and the franchise's first series win since moving to their current city in 2016.

All five Wings starters scored in double digits, as did reserves Awak Kuier and Kalani Brown. Arike Ogunbowale, naturally, led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, 2-of-4 from deep, plus seven assists and two rebounds. Center Teaira McCowan had a commanding double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds, plus two blocks.

The Wings previously lost four times in the first round, getting bounced by the Washington Mystics in 2017, the Phoenix Mercury in 2018, the Chicago Sky in 2021 and the Connecticut Sun last year. They didn't win a series during their time as the Tulsa Shock either, so it's their first advancement since moving from Detroit in 2010.

Dallas Wings' Arike Ogunbowale (24) Teaira McCowan, center, and Awak Kuier, right, celebrate after a basket by Ogunbowale in the first half of Game 2 of a first-round WNBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Dream, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Arike Ogunbowale led a Wings onslaught in Game 2 of the 2023 WNBA playoffs first round. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

It clearly meant a lot to the team, most of all to first-year head coach Latricia Trammell, who was visibly tearing up on the sideline as the final minutes ticked away.

Dallas Mavericks greats Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd were both on hand for the occasion.

The Wings' reward for their breakthrough? A few dates with the top-seeded, defending champion Las Vegas Aces, who swept the Chicago Sky with 22- and 28-point wins after going a WNBA-record 34-6 in the regular season.

Wings ran away from Dream in second quarter

The two teams went back and forth in the first quarter, with neither taking a single lead of more than three points. That changed in the second quarter.

Early in the next frame, the Wings ripped off a 20-3 run to take a commanding lead, running into halftime with a 52-34 lead they would never relinquish.

The Dream cut the lead to 13 points early in the third quarter, but that was the closest they would ever get. They had a much better opportunity to steal a win in Game 1 but let a 20-point lead slip away.

The series loss ends the Dream's first playoff appearance since 2018. The team took a step forward this season with a 19-21 record, but the last two games show that the squad still has a ways to go while building around 2022 first overall pick Rhyne Howard.