June 15, 2021
What the Dallas Wings learned on their five-game road trip
Roster complete, identity found
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After completing their longest road trip of the season, things are trending upward for the Dallas Wings as they have won four out of their last six games.
While Dallas had their three-game winning streak snapped with an 85-78 loss against the Las Vegas Aces on June 13, the Wings have become more identifiable. Dallas is getting defensive.
Under head coach Vickie Johnson they are showing improvement defensively early in the season. The Wings are currently seventh in defensive rating, in 2020 they were eleventh. In three of the five road games, Dallas was able to hold their opponents under their season averages in points per game.
Johnson said that the players know their roles, but whenever they do not play their roles, as a team or as individuals, they are not going to be successful.
“The biggest thing with the team is understanding, they want to win, they want to win now, and they understand the sacrifices they have to make in order to win,” Johnson said.
Not being able to shoot the ball as much as they want, not playing the minutes they want and allowing themselves to trust their teammates are the sacrifices Johnson referenced.
“You have to allow yourself to trust your teammates a little bit more in a system that depends on your teammates; it’s a lot of trusting on both sides of the basketball,” Johnson said.
The Dallas roster was not complete until they set out on their road trip. So far Dallas has had five different starting lineups. Second-year forward Satou Sabally and fifth-year guard Allisha Gray were placed in the starting lineup for the second game of the back-to-back on the road against the Seattle Storm. Sabally and Gray made an immediate impact on offense averaging 14.4 and 10 points, respectively in the road trip. In the game against the Aces, Sabally posted a season-high 24 points.
The Wings have four players averaging double-digits led by third-year guard Arike Ogunbowale with 20.9 points per game. The team is fourth in net rating which is the highest they have been since 2016. Dallas also leads the league in rebounding averaging 39.2. The effort defensively, on the boards and in scoring; are reasons why Johnson said she is proud of the way her team has been playing.
“When everybody plays their role to the fullest, we are pretty good,” Johnson said.
Five-year veteran forward Isabelle Harrison told reporters they still need to improve defensively even when the team has bad shooting nights like they had against the Aces. Dallas shot 32.5 percent from the field well under their season average of 41.7 percent.
“We were able to stay closer with teams when our shots are going in but we can’t let that dictate our defense,” Harrison said.
After two weeks on the road, the Wings return to the College Park Center to host the Minnesota Lynx on June 17.