October 11, 2023
Where the Dallas Wings go from here
Job one: retaining Satou Sabally
The Dallas Wings have built a solid foundation for them to grow on in 2024. The team went through many changes this season and still reached the WNBA semifinals.
They won their first playoff series since 2009, when they were the Detroit Shock. After taking a big step forward, president and CEO Greg Bibb said the franchise is happy with the season, but not satisfied yet.
“I thought a lot about this and I think I’ve drilled it down to four words: happy, but not satisfied,” Bibb said. “I think we had a really good year in terms of achieving many of the goals that we established prior to the start of the campaign. Most notably, we wanted to finish in the top four, secure home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, win a home playoff game and advance in the playoffs to the second round, the semifinals. We checked all of those boxes. But until we win a championship, I think it’s hard to say that we’re satisfied.”
Keeping the core in 2024
Latricia Trammell led Dallas to the semifinals in her first season as a head coach in the WNBA. She said she was proud of staying true to herself during her exit interview on Oct. 4.
“I’m just proud that I stayed true to myself, you know, and continue to build relationships, do the best I possibly can to make it a positive environment. Trying to change you know, the, the culture that we want to create. So I was really proud of that and like I said, I’m just glad that I continue to say stay true to myself,” she said.
There was a different aura around this Dallas Wings team. Four out of the five starters averaged double figures. All-star guard Arike Ogunbowale and Most Improved Player Satou Sabally were top 10 scorers in the league; averaging 21.2 and 18.6 points per game respectively. The Wings finished with a 22-18 record, Bibb said the season was a B+.
“I think again we sat down and we kind of listed out what our goals and objectives are for the year. We achieved a lot of them, if not all of them, and it was really a year of growth. A year of progression, a year of success, but I’m not going to give an A out until we get to the promised land. I’ll go with a B+,” the president and CEO said.
Dallas could be shaken up a bit in 2024. Ogunbowale, three-time champion Natasha Howard and Teaira McCowan are under contract, but Sabally is a restricted free agent. Howard said it is going to be very important to try to get Sabally back.
“The things that she did this season, she was healthy for a whole 48 (games),” Howard said. “That’s not going to be up to me, but the people above me. I know everybody would love to have Satou come back next season.”
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To keep the core group together, some changes will be necessary, particularly on the bench. Dallas’ reserves had the best defensive rating in the league at 36.7. proving that they can have an impact on the game when their number is called. There were some pieces on the bench that would be worth keeping like Kalani Brown. She was able to stay healthy and showcase what she can do. She was a great piece to sub for McCowan.
If they are able to keep the core together, the chemistry and bond could be even stronger. They played well together and they trusted each other. Ogunbowale is a prolific scorer, but one of her biggest improvements was with assists. She said Oct. 9 that the growth was not necessarily attributed to her buying into assists.
“I think that’s just how it goes when teams getting better, you know, we have players averaging almost 20 now, so they are knocking down shots, I’m finding them,” she said.
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Trammell is a player’s coach that gives her team a chance to use their voice.
“I’ve said since day one that I wanted the players to have a seat at the table and I listened, take advice at times, made them feel like they had some ownership, that they didn’t rent a position while on our team. I was proud of that and we’re going to continue to build on that,” Trammell said.
In 2024 there could be some new faces at the table, but Trammell will still come with the passion she has for the game and putting her players in the best position to win.
The bar has been raised by the team ending the season three games away from making the finals. Depending on how things shape up Dallas could find itself as a championship contender once again.