July 27, 2023
How Latricia Trammell’s energy has transformed the Dallas Wings
'Game day! Fire up!'
A year after reaching the playoffs, the Dallas Wings are showing signs of doing more than just showing up to the postseason. And first-year head coach Latricia Trammell has been the primary reason why, everyone in Dallas seems to agree. But while she is a first-year WNBA head coach, she is not new at this. With 30 years of experience, this new challenge has not been a daunting task. She’s been preparing for it her whole career.
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Trammell told The Next that it is her passion that drives her everyday and it allows her to always provide energy for the Wings.
“The game of basketball has given so much to me that I wouldn’t want to disrespect it,” Trammell said in a phone interview. “So I want the players to feel my love and passion for the game. Just the commitment part and hopefully, I’m creating an environment not only one that I would want to be a part of, but also the people that are that are around me.”
Dripping in celebration
Trammell said when she was hired by Dallas, she was thinking of something the team could do to celebrate after every win. She bounced around some ideas with the team’s leading scorer Arike Ogunbowale. Then the ‘Drip Chain’ was created.
“I have some people in Oklahoma that I sent some ideas to and they sent it back and so that’s where it came from,” Trammell said. “And it’s [for] someone that really makes an impact in that game. We only give it out when we win and so it’s a lot of fun and the players really have enjoyed it.”
The Dallas Wings have won seven of their last 10 games. The team is starter-heavy but the bench has been ready when their numbers are called.
Trammell, meanwhile, has a wealth coaching experience that spans from high school through the collegiate level, along with years as a WNBA assistant. She is a defensive-minded coach, which is an area that Dallas has needed the most improvement.
They are currently sixth in defensive rating. And their connectivity offensively was on display, most notably, when Dallas tied a WNBA record with just two turnovers in a 98-88 victory against the New York Liberty on July 19. But while the offense has been excellent all season, Trammell said defense is something she preaches all of the time.
“We preach it, we work on it, we talk about it, but it’s up to the players to get out and actually execute and they have done that, so I’ve been very very pleased,” she said.
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Before each game Trammell says to her team “Game day! Fire up!” She told The Next that she has been saying that since day one of her coaching career.
“I don’t know where that started,” she said. “But I just know when I started my coaching career. I just continually said it and it just stuck with me all these years.
Trammell won back-to-back NAIA National Championships in 2014 and 2015 as the head coach of the Oklahoma City University women’s basketball team. She wears those championship rings every single game.
“When I was a college coach, my group then, we just made a pact,” she said. “And this has been one probably 15 years ago… but we just made a pact that anything that meant a lot to us in the game of basketball, that we would wear them and stay connected.
“So wherever they are in this world, and they there’s something special in the game of basketball, they’re wearing them as well. So I’ll wear them every every game.”
The players’ coach
Now in the middle of her first season as a head coach in the WNBA, she has made a huge impact on the players. Center Teaira McCowan is almost averaging a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds per game. She said Trammell allows the players to figure things out on their own.
“She just tries to get us going,” she said after the 88-83 loss against the Connecticut Sun July 25. “…I think that works best because we’re just on the go and then we’ll figure it out.”
Forward Satou Sabally described her coach as fired up and positive after their victory over the Indiana Fever July 9. Sabally said it is Trammell’s energy that separates her from the previous coaches she has had.
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“I think that is something that just energized us as young players, I think,” the two-time all star said. “I think we’re just the team that’s really made for her right now. And you know, she obviously had some other choices previously, but the fact that she came to us I think it’s just meant to be right now.”
And the buy-in of her signature star in Ogunbowale is obvious, not just from her performance on the floor, but the way she speaks about her coach as well.
“She’s always talking to us, you know, always positive,” Ogunbowale said after the win against New York on July 19. “Always worried about us — not even just basketball, just like checking on us. And she definitely wants us to be successful off the court, but on the court obviously as well. And you could just tell that she believes in every single one of us and it’s easy to play for a coach that has your back through anything.”
Howard Megdal contributed reporting to this story.