UNCASVILLE, CT - AUGUST 18: Dallas Wings guard Marina Mabrey (3) reacts during the first round and game 1 of the WNBA playoffs between Dallas Wings and Connecticut Sun on August 18, 2022, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. (Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With a final score of 93-68, the Connecticut Sun easily took a 1-0 lead over the Dallas Wings in the first round of the WNBA playoffs. Playing in Connecticut, the third-seeded Sun took the lead early. For Dallas, the loss was the franchise’s eighth straight in the postseason. But all is not lost just yet. What can Dallas do to pick up a win in game two in Connecticut on Sunday?

Create more ball movement

The Wings only had 11 assists in the loss to the Sun. This lack of ball movement led to some ill-advised shots and a 41.3 field goal percentage. Though Dallas’ offense is often free-wheeling, the team just plays better when it passes the ball more and when it gets more assists. 

More Teaira McCowan 

Without Arike Ogunbowale, McCowan has owned the paint and been a consistent source of scoring for the Wings. She was the Western Conference Player of the Month for a reason. With Jonquel Jones defending her, McCowan was neutralized, scoring just seven points and grabbing five rebounds. She needs a much bigger game Sunday to keep Dallas’ season alive. 

Help Veronica Burton shed the playoff jitters

The rookie Burton has been thrust into the starting spot with Ogunbowale injured. She is known for her defense but struggled on both sides of the ball against Natisha Heideman. Burton finished with just two rebounds, three assists and two points. In college at Northwestern, she didn’t have an NCAA tournament in 2020 because of the pandemic and played in just two games in the 2021 tournament. 

Burton doesn’t have the luxury of playing just a little in the playoffs to get more big-game experience. The Wings have to make sure she gets past those jitters so she can play as well as she was in the last few games of the regular season. 

Make free throws

This has been a problem for the Wings all season long, as they ranked second to last in free throw percentage. And missing free throws was a big issue again on Thursday night, as Dallas went just 11-19 from the charity stripe. Not making those free throws robbed the Wings of the chance of forcing momentum swings.

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