Marina Mabrey scored a career-high 31 points, 13 of them in the fourth quarter to spur a comeback, and the Dallas Wings defeated the New York Liberty 86-77 on Monday in Arlington, Texas, to clinch a playoff spot.
The Wings (17-16) can assure themselves of sixth place in the league if they beat New York when the teams play again on Wednesday in Arlington.
The Liberty (13-20) are tied with the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks, all three one game behind the Phoenix Mercury for the league’s eighth and final playoff spot with three games to go. New York has dropped two straight after winning three games in a row.
Dallas trailed by a point heading into the fourth quarter but rallied to the lead and then put away the game with a 14-0 run beginning with 5:31 remaining.
Mabrey’s performance and the Wings’ win overshadowed the season-best 32 points by the Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu. Ionescu grabbed seven rebounds and finished 12-for-12 on foul shots.
Allisha Gray added 18 points and Teaira McCowan contributed 16 points and nine rebounds in Dallas’ fifth straight win.
Marine Johannes scored 19 points for the Liberty.
Both teams were missing star players because of injuries. Dallas was without leading scorer Arike Ogunbowale because of an abdominal issue, and New York’s Natasha Howard was sidelined due to an ankle ailment.
The Wings set the pace with a dominating first quarter in which they outshot New York 62.5 percent to 26.3 percent and led by as many as 12 points before finishing the period up 24-13.
New York rallied by forging a 15-3 run over the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second quarter to take a 28-27 lead. Johannes scored 13 of the Liberty’s points in that surge. Dallas then ran off 11 of the ensuing 14 points to reassume the lead and went to the break up 44-38.
Johannes led all scorers with 16 points in the half while Mabrey paced the Wings with 11 points.
Ionescu completed a three-point play midway through the third quarter to give the Liberty a 53-51 lead. She racked up 18 points in the period, and New York carried a 64-63 advantage into the final 10 minutes.
–Field Level Media
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