Wings host Dream with better finish in mind (Jul 4, 2017)

BY AP • July 4, 2017

Dallas hopes history does not repeat itself.

At 8-9, the Wings sport the same record as they did last season. But amid injuries and tough luck, they went on to lose 12 of 13 games to finish 11-23.

Atlanta, too, is hoping history doesn't repeat as the inconsistent Dream have posted two three-game losing streaks while stumbling to a 6-7 record this season.

On Wednesday, the two teams take their first steps trying to rewrite history when they collide at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.

There's plenty of optimism in Dallas despite suffering a 20-point loss to the Seattle Storm on Sunday. The Wings had won four straight to get to .500 before the loss.

The reason for that optimism falls on the shoulders of All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith.

Last season, Diggins-Smith was dogged by ACL surgery. This season, she is healthy and is eighth in the WNBA in scoring at 17.2 points while fourth with 5.7 assists.

"As I've said many times in the past, as Skylar goes, the Wings go," Dallas president and general manager Greg Bibb told sportsday.dallasnews.com. "If you look at Skylar right now, she is clearly playing at an All-Star level. I would suggest she also deserves to be in the Most Valuable Player conversation based on her stats."

While Diggins-Smith is credited as the glue that holds her team together, Dream coach Michael Cooper sings the praises of his own point guard, Layshia Clarendon, who was instrumental in helping Atlanta snap a three-game skid against the New York Liberty on Sunday.

"There goes a saying; So goes your point guard, so goes your team. And Layshia hasn't played well the last three or four games and we struggled," Cooper told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "So, when she plays well, she has great command of the game, and she's running our offense the way it's supposed to be run.

"It's not about her always scoring, but when she does score, it helps our offense run a little more smoothly."

Clarendon said she was thinking too much and not letting the game come to her naturally during the Dream's losing streak

"I've been struggling the last couple games, started to overthink it a bit," Clarendon said. "You get in that rut of losing, so it was really just like, I need to get in attack mode and get back to what I know how to be."

Atlanta most likely will be in attack mode from the opening tip as Dallas allows a league-high 86.1 points per game.

The Wings' offense (84.1 points per game) will put pressure on the Dream's defense as four players, led by Diggins-Smith, score in double figures.


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