May 18, 2023
2023 WNBA season preview: Dallas Wings
The goal is a sustained playoff run
Head coach Latricia Trammell has infused the Dallas Wings with positive energy which has aided in building the team chemistry. Having that chemistry on and off the court is especially important for a team that is currently talent-heavy. There is a lot of talent to sift through which will allow Trammell to put together a team that fits well. Having a strong core with a deep bench is something Dallas has not had before. 2023 may be their first chance to do so. Trammell said the players have bought in quickly.
“I really do think those presentations that I did prior to stepping on the floor with each individual player and talking about the defense of an offensive philosophy. I really do think that helped, especially with the terminology,” Trammell said.
Building on 2022, with changes
Dallas had a lackluster season, finishing with an 18-18 record and an early exit from the playoffs. Still, 2022 was still seen as an improvement. The Wings got their first win in the playoffs since they were the Detroit Shock in 2009. But in a sign the Wings did not think it was enough, head coach Vickie Johnson was dismissed, and Trammell enters with a chance to build a sustainable winner.
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Potential starting five for the Wings
G-Crystal Dangerfield – The 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year will be playing for her fourth team in her young career. She is listed as 5’5, which has been the main drawback. She is a tough player with good court vision and the speed to create her own shot. The former Connecticut guard will not be needed for scoring. She will just need to facilitate and be a pest on defense.
G-Arike Ogunbowale – She finished fourth in the WNBA in scoring last season, averaging 19.7 points per game, and has led the Wings in scoring since 2019. She could still lead the team in scoring this season, but her average is likely to drop due to the amount of talent that has been added to the roster during the offseason. The former Notre Dame standout will have to share the wealth.
I think when the whole team is behind what the coaching staff is doing, its happening quickly. They support us, we support them and we see what they want to do for us.Ogunbowale during Dallas Wings media day
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F-Satou Sabally — She has been injury-prone so far in her WNBA career. She was an all-star in 2021, but has played only 33 games over her first two seasons. Even with her limited availability last season she was fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 11.3 points per game. She has shown what she is capable of when healthy. Remaining so is critical to Dallas’ chances.
She (Trammell) is just so energetic and so happy and demands a lot from us. And I think that just translates to the team and we demand the same time each other just you know pick each other up.Sabally during May 4 media availability
F- Natasha Howard – She is a three-time champion that averaged 15.1 points per game with the New York Liberty last season. She also averaged 7.3 rebounds per game, which was tenth in the league. The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year will be an important piece in improving the Wings’ defense. Her ability to score will also help spread the floor. Howard and Ogunbowale have experience playing with each other overseas in the Russian Women’s Basketball League during the 2021-2022 season.
C-Teaira McCowan — The 6’7 center has been playing basketball year-round and continuing to improve her game. After being acquired from Indiana last season she has continued to improve. She was named WNBA Player of the Month in August last season showing how dangerous she can be once she is comfortable. She will be effective on both sides on the ball. After averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds in 2022 the average in rebounds is likely to increase in 2023.
The second unit
G- Veronica Burton — The 5’9 guard will be entering her second season. She will provided a spark off of the bench defensively and a good facilitator. Burton was able to gain more playing experience during her rookie season after the team waived veteran guard Moriah Jefferson. There is not too much of a difference of what she and Dangerfield can bring to the Wings. Burton will not be needed to come in to help close the gap with her scoring, but she will be able to do so with her defensive tenacity.
F-Maddy Siegrist — The third overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft led the nation in scoring last season with Villanova, averaging 29.2 points per game. She will not be the leading scorer for Dallas, but there will not be a dropoff in scoring once her number is called. At 6’2 she could also be a good defender on the outside. The biggest key for her is adjusting to the pace of the pro game.
F- Awak Kuier– She is entering her third season and has not played a lot of minutes. The 2021 No. 2 pick was active for 33 games and averaged just 12.6 minutes per game. This season she might be able to get the chance to show what she can really do. Kuier recently spoke with Howard Megdal on the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. They discussed how she is ready to to make a leap into stardom this season. She is another player on the Wings that is long, can shoot and will be able to help spread the floor.
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G – Jasmine Dickey — The former Delaware standout was a third round pick in 2022. It is extremely difficult to make a roster as a player drafted from the third round. After being drafted last season, President and CEO Greg Bibb described her as a “walking bucket”. The good thing about training camp is that the players have to give their all and showcase their skills. Under a new regime she was able to show them what she can bring to the team. She played limited minutes last season and averaged only 1.1 points per game. With a new opportunity the league may she the “walking bucket” on display this season.
G/F – Ashley Joens – The 2022-2023 Big 12 Player of the Year is a great stop-and-pop shooter that will benefit from assists. The 6′ player is another long body who will spread the floor for Dallas. But rookies have to adjust to the pace of the game quickly. She will have time to do so as a reserve.
G/F- Diamond DeShields – She won a championship with the Chicago Sky in 2021, then traded to the Phoenix Mercury last season as part of a three-team deal. DeShields was the fourth leading scoring for the Mercury, averaging 13.1 points per game. The former Tennessee Lady Vol was a WNBA all-star in 2019. Last season she only went seven games without scoring in double digits. She is a player that will be able to help the Wings on both sides on the ball… eventually. However, the team announced May 17 that she will miss some extended time this season as she deals with a knee injury. If she cannot get on the court early, she could be a good spark to help them make a playoff push in the latter part of the season.
G/F- Lou Lopez Sénéchal– The fifth pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft is nursing a knee issue and will not get to see time on the court until later in the season. She is another player with the ability to score, but may not be as strong on defense. At 6’1 she is a long guard that will require attention from the opposition, especially from the perimeter.
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What to expect from the Wings in 2023
Dallas is looking find themselves closer to the top of the standings and to be able to make a deep run into the playoffs. It will not be an easy feat with the shuffling of talent throughout the WNBA this offseason. The aura is different around this team and that is likely due to them influence Trammell has had on her players and staff from day one.
“It’s just been great energy. The coaching staff is always energetic everyday so it has been a good environment,” Ogunbowale said.
The season begins at home May 20 against the Atlanta Dream.
Written by Arie Graham
Arie Graham joined 'The Next' in May 2021 as the beat writer for the Dallas Wings.
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