June 15, 2022 

How does Dallas find consistency?

The Wings cannot put full performances together at home

The Dallas Wings have lost four of their last five games, most recently on Wednesday afternoon in a 92-84 loss to the Las Vegas Aces. But perhaps the biggest example of their struggles came in close games with the Seattle Storm.

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The team needed every player to step up on June 12. Guard Marina Mabrey was out due to health and safety protocols. In addition, the team’s leading scorer Arike Ogunbowale was ejected at the half due to unsportsmanlike conduct and forward Satou Sabally did not return to the game after a hard fall towards the end of the third quarter. Although it was a tough loss without three of their best players, Dallas does not play well at home.

With those players out, six-year guard Allisha Gray took control of the game and got the team within two points in the fourth quarter. Dallas had three empty possessions at the end of the game against Seattle and they just ran out of time.

Head coach Vickie Johnson said she hates to say it, but she thinks the team is more focused when they are on the road because there are no distractions.

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“We’re all together. We’re eating together and we just have to lean how to be focused at home,” Johnson said. “When we have family and friends that come to visit, make sure we continue to stick to our routine.”

We recently discussed if all Dallas Wings pieces fit on the Locked on Women’s Basketball Podcast. Some of the pieces have not seen much action on the court. They acquired center Teaira McCowan from the Indiana Fever during the offseason. While she was the last to arrive from overseas commitments, she did not see much time on the court prior to the game against the Storm. She played a season-high 17 minutes and scored a season-high 13 points. She immediately had an impact on the game once she entered. McCowan said it was the most comfortable she has felt on the court since arriving in Dallas.

“I stopped overthinking things and just went out there and played. I feel like most of the time, in the past games, I have overthought the game too much because I was new and didn’t want to mess up. I just went out there and played. Coach always says play your minutes, and play your minutes hard, so that’s what I went out and did.”

But McCowan played just 4:06 against Las Vegas on Wednesday.

The homestand should have been a good time for the team to put a string of wins together while showing bright spots; they have had to fight their way back into games making things close, but have not been able to come away with a win. Gray said she does not know why the team plays better on the road.

“It’s kind of weird how we play better on the road. I don’t know, maybe on the road we have more focus when it is just us against everybody, but I really don’t know,” Gray said.

The Wings tend to beat themselves more than their opposition does. They are second to last in the league in field goal percentage, but they have lost their previous three games by an average of 4.6 points. The team leads the league in offensive rebounds averaging 10.6 per game. The team’s core continues to shift and the bench’s production has been a rollercoaster.

Dallas is now on a four-game losing streak, but they have two more opportunities at home to right the ship. The next one comes Friday night against the also-struggling Phoenix Mercury.

Written by Arie Graham

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

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