When we at Beyond The W were at WNBA All-Star a couple of weekends ago in Las Vegas, we asked Arike Ogunbowale if the team had any bragging rights midway through the 2023 campaign.
Those bragging rights would have been based on the idea that her Dallas Wings are one of only two teams with a victory over the defending champion Las Vegas Aces. That still is true today.
There’s no bragging rights. (The Aces) have all the bragging rights. They have the championship. So, I have nothing to brag about.
–Arike Ogunbowale during Team Wilson media scrum at WNBA All-Star 2023
Satou Sabally was also in Sin City representing the Wings two weekends ago at WNBA All-Star. We asked Sabally if the season that the Wings had put together up to that point was putting a WNBA landscape that was fixated on the Aces and New York Liberty “super teams” on notice.
We’re putting people on notice. Definitely. Definitely. We’re having a great season, we’re playing really well and I think we were just kind of looked over before this season. We knew what we had before the season and we believed in our roster, but I feel like we were just definitely overlooked and not spoken about. But that’s fine. That’s really, actually fine … It’s always about action and performance and I think we’re doing that.”
—Satou Sabally during Team Stewart press availability at WNBA All-Star 2023
If the Wings have not yet put the WNBA landscape on notice before, they certainly have done so now. Ironically, the only other team that the Aces have lost to this season were the Connecticut Sun – albeit they were without Jackie Young in that game.
As of this writing, the Wings next matchup will be against those very Sun in a contest that will feature, arguably, the two leading candidates for Coach of the Year in the Wings’ Latricia Trammell and Connecticut’s Stephanie White.
As of this writing, the Wings are 13-9 and in the throes of a five-game winning streak – one that dates back to prior to the All-Star Break. The last team that dealt Dallas a loss were those very Aces on July 5 at Michelob Ultra Arena in a Commissioner’s Cup contest.
In another Commissioner’s Cup matchup two days later at College Park Center, revenge was sweet for the lone team out of the Lone Star State. Speaking of the College Park Center in Arlington, it is presenting a formidable home court advantage for Trammell and company. Dallas currently boasts the second-best home mark in the entire WNBA at 8-2. Only the Aces at a perfect 11-0 are better. The Sun and Liberty are both 8-3. Those four teams are the only teams remaining whose loss totals are in single digits as we are roughly two weeks shy of the W’s trade deadline.
The 80-78 decision for the Wings saw Ogunbowale lead the way with 21 points. Natasha Howard chimed in with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Teaira McCowan, following years in basketball purgatory with the Indiana Fever, has found a strong footing in Dallas. She finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds – also a double-double. Crystal Dangerfield, who was the 2020 Rookie of the Year with the Minnesota Lynx, finished with 14 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Sabally added 10 points and five rebounds, assists and steals each.
Vegas learned the hard way not to mess with Texas’ WNBA team. The Liberty learned that the hard way a few days ago.
Dallas proved it can beat any team on any court at any given time once again when they dealt a 98-88 decision to New York at Barclays Center on July 19. The Wings outscored the Liberty by a margin of 29-16 in the third quarter, all but sealing another huge victory against another title-contending assembling.
Ogunbowale finished with 25 points, five rebounds and four assists. McCowan and Sabally each tallied 15 with McCowan also added 12 rebounds to her efforts and Sabally contributing seven assists and five rebounds (plus a pair of steals) to hers. Howard also finished with 14.
In the Wings’ most recent triumph – a 98-84 win over what has become a slumping Los Angeles Sparks bunch, Howard (28), Sabally (26) and Ogunbowale (25) each contributed 20-plus point games en route to another Dallas win. It was the fifth consecutive win for the Wings – and the eighth consecutive loss for the Sparks.
The hire of Trammell is looking more and more like a home run hire every day by Amber Cox, Greg Bibb, Bill Cameron and the rest of that Dallas front office. Following years of winning WNBA drafts, the Wings are finally winning where it counts – on the basketball court. Ogunbowale looks poised to further solidify her superstar status in the WNBA.
Dallas used to be a team that got more attention in April than it did in July and August. That appears to be changing as the Wings are shocking the WNBA world and proving they are up to big things in the state where everything is bigger.