August 4, 2020 

How three-point shooting is vital to Dallas’ playoff hopes

Plus some Wings defensive observations out of their 2-2 start

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Arike Ogunbowale #24. Photo Credit: Chris Poss.

The Dallas Wings, 2-2 to start the season, are struggling to make three-point shots and if it continues, it could cost them a playoff spot.

Perimeter shooting was supposed to be the main strength of this team in 2020, but so far the Wings are tenth in the league in accuracy from beyond the arc. Dallas could easily be sitting with at least a 3-1 record if not for poor 3-point shooting.

The team shot an abysmal 4-for-30 from beyond the arc in Sunday’s contest against the Las Vegas Aces (2-2) and a combined 7-for-55 in their last two games. If they intend to be a playoff team, that has to change.

There are good signs. After forcing her shots early in the game, Dallas’ Arike Ogunbowale began to find her rhythm. In the second half she went 7-for-11 for 14 of her 20 points after beginning just 3-for-11 from the field on 6 points due to forcing shots.

Rookie Satou Sabally, who finished the game with 10 points and 6 rebounds, believes the team needs to keep taking the open shots, but not always settle for them.

“We need to put more emphasis on playing inside out,” Sabally said. “I think our shots were good and we have to shoot the open shots we created. I had two open shots. I had to take them; I’m not going to drive that. But also we need to know that, on pick and rolls, we might need to drive instead of just settling for that shot because that’s the easier option. We need to find balance. Keep moving more on the perimeter, because right now we’re really stagnant.”

Before the season began, this team knew that in order to get those easy open outside shots, they needed to drive the ball and collapse the defense to kick out to their shooters. Moriah Jefferson, in particular, needs to provide that element of the Dallas attack. When she doesn’t, they begin to settle.

Here’s Sabally with a good example of making that defense collapse and finding Kayla Thornton for an open three-point shot.

Brian Agler noticed the change in the team when things weren’t going their way.

“We had a couple of turnovers that way,” Agler said. “I felt like, sort of what you’re alluding to, I felt like when we run an action and couldn’t get a shot, then we’d sort of stand. And we’ve gotta work on how to play out of certain actions. Then if we don’t get something there, play to the backside.

“That’s part of this evolution of our team and learning to play together and growing. We’re just trying to grow. When you play against a veteran team like Las Vegas, they’re going to take things away from you. They’re gonna make it difficult on you.”

Dallas has defended well since it’s early struggles, but they still fail to consistently communicate with one another on the defensive end, especially in pick-and-roll situations.

Many times that lack of communication led to easy baskets for the player setting the screen for the Aces. Dallas failed to communicate with each other as to who was going with the roll man, followed by a lack of rotation on the back end. Almost every time, you saw both defenders on the ball after the screen occurred.

If Dallas makes those minor fixes on both ends, they can potentially have elite team defense and more efficient shooting.

The Wings will look to turn things around in their next game as they face the Chicago Sky at 6 PM EST Tuesday night.

Written by Drew Ivery

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