As the calendar turns to September, members of Arlington’s “new” professional franchise, the Dallas Wings, are setting their sights on the prospect of an extended post-season run. First, though, there’s the business of getting to the post-season.
At press-time, the Wings had the ninth best record in the WNBA with six regular season games left this month. Given that only eight teams make the playoffs, the locals don’t occupy an ideal position in the climb to the top of the league.
But that’s probably not the most accurate way to measure what the Wings are all about this year – and for the future.
- A month ago, the Wings’ Arike Ogunbowale (pictured below) scored 26 points to win Most Valuable Player honors as the WNBA All-Star team beat the U.S. Olympic team 93-85 in the league’s All-Star Game.
That’s the same U.S. Olympic team that would be earning a seventh straight gold medal a month later in Tokyo.
The WNBA team led 75-73 midway through the fourth quarter before Ogunbowale had a four-point play to extend the advantage to six. Ogunbowale hit another 3-pointer not long thereafter, and the eventual Queens of International Basketball were temporarily dethroned.
It should be noted that Ogunbowale wasn’t the only Wing on the All-Star team. Last year’s second-round drafted choice Satou Sabally joined her in Las Vegas.
- Ogunbowale leads the Wings in scoring (18.6 points per game), assists (3.4 per game) and steals (1.2 per game). But she’s just the most prolific member of a team composed of excellent young talent.
To wit, Marina Mabrey, who entered the league in 2019, is averaging 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. The aforementioned Sabally scores at a 12.4 points-per-game clip and leads the team in rebounding, averaging 6.4 per contest.
Allisha Gray, who won a gold medal at the Olympics on the U.S. 3-on-3 team, and Isabelle Harrison are also averaging double figures in scoring. And the Wings’ first-year head coach Vickie Johnson is working this year’s No. 1 and No. 2 draft selections – Charli Collier and Awak Kuier – into the mix more regularly as they get more confidence as professional players.
The bottom line: This is a team poised to be successful soon.
- It was noted previously that the Wings had the ninth-best record in the league late in August. They aren’t far from challenging for a much better spot. In fact, should the young talent find its potential down the September stretch (say, going 4-2 over the final six games), the Wings could finish as high as sixth place. The WNBA is very balanced this year.
So, where does all this leave the team during this very critical juncture of the season? At the very least, the Wings are one of the more exciting squads in the WNBA, adding to the appeal of taking in a home game on Sept. 2, 5, 7, 11 and 19 at UTA’s College Park Center this month.
For more: wings.wnba.com