Getting swept in a home-and-home series by the Minnesota Lynx was not optimal for the Dallas Wings, who at least found one good piece of news from Thursday night's 90-81 home loss.
In her first career start, Awak Kuier scored 12 points, grabbed a season-best six rebounds and tied her career high in assists with three. Kuier probably earned herself more playing time for Sunday's trip to meet the struggling Phoenix Mercury.
"She did great, didn't she? I think that was really good for her," Dallas coach Latricia Trammell said of Kuier. "We knew she has it in her but to see her step up like she did in her first career start and play like she did, that's only a confidence boost for her."
At the same time, Trammell and the Wings would have preferred that confidence boost come with a win attached to it. However, they were outscored 11-3 in the final 3:50 as they couldn't come up with key stops.
The outcome dropped Dallas to 18-16, ahead of Minnesota for fourth place in the league. That's important because the top four teams receive home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Phoenix (9-24) is limping to the end of a highly disappointing season with another losing streak in tow. The Mercury have dropped four straight games, including a 91-62 decision on Wednesday night at Los Angeles.
It didn't help Phoenix that it was without its leading scorers, Brittney Griner (health/safety protocols) and Diana Taurasi (toe). With 34.5 points per game out of a lineup that has struggled to consistently score this year, the Mercury predictably misfired, hitting only 40.7 percent of their shots from the field.
"We have to roll with who we roll with," Phoenix interim coach Nikki Blue said. "We have been here before. We have been here all year."
The Mercury are last in the league in scoring and 11th in 3-point percentage entering play on Saturday, and have permitted at least 81 points in five straight games.
The Wings have won the teams' first three meetings this year, including a 77-62 verdict on June 27 in Phoenix.
—Field Level Media