May 6, 2024 

2024 WNBA season preview: Dallas Wings

A trip to the WNBA Finals is the goal for Dallas this season

In 2023 the Dallas Wings achieved their goal of getting out of the first round of the playoffs. This season, the goal is to make the WNBA Finals.

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Head coach Latricia Trammell took the Wings to another level last season. Under her leadership the Wings are different. They have become more defensive-minded and the team looks to turn that defense into a better offense. President and CEO Greg Bibb said during Dallas’ post-draft press conference on April 15 that coming out of the 2023 season the team identified some particular needs after having a strong year.

“We wanted to get bigger at the guard position. We wanted to improve our shooting from the perimeter, particularly the three-point line and we wanted to get better defensively. As those of you who follow the team, [it’s] defense first for Coach Trammell and getting better defensively,” Bibb said. “We made improvements last year, but continuing to get better defensively is a priority.”

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Satou Sabally will be out until the season half of the season

Forward Satou Sabally takes a shot to the head in the matchup against the Minnesota Lynx Aug. 22 2023. (Photo credit: John McClellan)

The Wings begin their season without 6’4 forward Satou Sabally, who sustained a shoulder injury during the Olympic qualifying tournament back in February in Brazil. She underwent a successful surgery and is on schedule with her rehab.

“We expect Satou to come back around the Olympic break, be ready to compete for Germany in the Olympics, and then to see her for sure in a Dallas Wings jersey over those final 15 games of the regular season for us post-Olympic break. Fortunately, we have a deep and talented roster that we’ve been building over the last three or four years,” Bibb said during the post-draft press conference. “I think while you can never truly replace an All-WNBA first team player — the unicorn Satou Sabally — I think we have the talent and the depth on the roster to hold the fort down until she gets back and joins us.”

Yes, 18.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game will be difficult to replace. Fortunately the team has enough time to put together a plan and lineup that can make up for the loss. Bibb cited WNBA veteran Emma Cannon as a player that can assist with that.

“Emma is a player that we see coming in adding veteran leadership, a player that can play multiple positions for us, particularly the four and the three and that’s going to be really important for us this year,” Bibb said.

The WNBA will have an Olympic break from July 21-August 14. Barring any injuries Dallas could find themselves in a good position to finish the season strong after the break is over.

Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale (24) celebrates during the WNBA game between the Dallas Wings and the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA on August 18, 2023. (Photo Credit: Chris Poss)

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Lineup considerations

With the absence of Sabally, the Wings must fill at least one starting spot. Let’s take a look at the other key pieces on this Dallas squad’s roster.

Arike Ogunbowale — Wings 2023 leading scorer, averaging 21.2 points per game — continues as team leader on and off of the court. The guard will have to trust her teammates more on the floor especially when she’s having an off shooting night.

Forward Natasha Howard was acquired via trade last season. The three-time champion can shoot, defend and spread the floor. She can be dangerous from the perimeter and can make a difference down low if need be.

Dallas has been top tier in rebounding since the 6’7 center Teaira McCowan joined the team in 2022. With 6’7 Kalani Brown as backup the Wings could find themselves as one of the top rebounding teams again this season.

Veteran guards Crystal Dangerfield and Veronica Burton are best positioned to compete for the starting guard role. Dangerfield is a 5’5 guard who plays hard and can be a pest on defense. There are times, though, when she is just overmatched due to her size. Burton is good defensively and has the potential to start but she must contribute more offensively in order to solidify that spot.

Dallas also brought in 5’10 guard Jacy Sheldon with the fifth overall pick in the draft. Since one of the team’s main goals was to get bigger at the guard position, Sheldon fill that gap. If she has a really good training camp she may be considered for a starting role, but her lack of experience will come into play.

Maddy Siegrist, the former Villanova standout, spent the part of the offseason competing in Athletes Unlimited, finishing 12th on the leaderboard. After only averaging 8.2 minutes per game last season as a rookie, her experience in AU might help her earn a starting spot and/or a meaningful role in the Wings’ rotations.

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And so it begins

Dallas sold out its preseason game and home opener. There are some tough cuts that will need to be made just like every other year. The difference from this year than previous seasons is that Dallas has a real shot at making it to the finals after proving they can win a playoff series.

The Dallas Wings will begin their regular season May 15 against the Chicago Sky.

Written by Arie Graham

Arie Graham joined 'The Next' in May 2021 as the beat writer for the Dallas Wings.

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