Dallas Wings vs Phoenix Mercury Playoff Preview: Round 1

The Dallas Wings and the Phoenix Mercury will face off on Tuesday, Aug 21st at 8:30 pm EST / 7:30 pm Dallas time, and 5:30 pm Phoenix time.

The Dallas Wings are heading back into the playoffs as the 8th seed, facing off against the 5th seed Phoenix Mercury. The Wings failed to get past the Mystics in the first round last season, but that was without Liz Cambage.

Coming into these series, both the Mercury and the Wings were headed in different directions. The Mercury looked like they were locked into a top 2 or 3 seed, but fell into a tailspin after they lost Sancho Lyttle to injury. The Wings looked like they were also heading in a top 4 or top 5 seed, but lost eight in a row as they stumbled to the finish line.

In the regular season series between these two teams, the Mercury won 2-1. One of those losses was decided by three points.

Looking at this playoff preview for the Wings, they have to play defense. This is not a three-game series. It is a single elimination game. They will need to defend the Mercury's big three (Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, and Dewanna Bonner), and limit their ability to affect the game.

This game will move pretty quickly, and Dallas has struggled to defend in transition. They will also need to attack offensively and get Brittney Griner in foul trouble. If they can manage that, it will open the lane up for some easy drives to the basket, as well as easy putback baskets for Liz Cambage.

They will also need to be wary of Diana Taurasi in the fourth quarter. She has been known for many years as one of the top fourth-quarter closers in women's basketball, and if the Wings do not defend her properly, she will make them pay by hitting some clutch baskets.

This is where the great importance of Liz Cambage comes to play. If Cambage can defend Griner and keep out of foul trouble, the Wings will be able to go to her in late game situations as she anchors the defensive end, which is crucial if they want to advance to Round 2.

All in all, the Wings need to remember that this is a road playoff game. They cannot allow referee decisions to impact them. They need to establish Liz Cambage early and often. Skylar Diggins-Smith must take control and have a big game. They need to defend well both in the open floor and in half court (which is something they have struggled with all season long).

If the Wings can manage all these three points listed above, they will move on to Round 2 of the WNBA Playoffs.

The Dallas Wings and the Phoenix Mercury will face off on Tuesday, Aug 21st at 8:30 pm EST / 7:30 pm Dallas time, and 5:30 pm Phoenix time.

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