Here are five observations from the Wings vs. Friday night sky
With the first four days of training camp in the books, the Dallas Wings hosted their first preseason game which ended in a win over the Chicago Sky, 75-70.
“I’m going to sleep better tonight, but I know we still have a long way to go,” Wings first-year head coach Latricia Trammell said of her first WNBA win. “It’s just a stage to see how the players work together and what happens under the big lights. I appreciate [Dallas Wings President & CEO] Greg Bibb comes in and gives me the ball, and you know the players and [I] live a special moment. Hopefully there’s more to come, but we have a lot of work to do before May 20th.
Going into the fourth quarter down a four-point, 60-56 deficit, Dallas beat Chicago 19-10 in the last frame powered on an 11-2 run. With less than a minute left in regulation time, Wings guard Crystal Dangerfield kicked into high gear, connecting on a three-point clutch and two free throws to start, putting the Sky aside for more. Good.
Teaira McCowan is ready for take off
Wings star center Teaira McCowan let the world know what she was capable of after last season’s All-Star break, leading starting centers in points per game (16.2) while ranking second in rebounds per game. match. (10) and field goal percentage. She picked up where she left off, leading all scorers with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and had three blocks and two assists. McCowan’s two assists are the result of eliminating double teams and locating sharp teammates. Although the box’s tally only showed two assists, her passing led to numerous visits to the free-throw line for her teammates. Of his game-leading eight rebounds, five of them were caught on the offensive glass.
“It was good to be back with my team, we have new parts so we are still working on the issues,” McCowan said. “But it feels good to be here, to be in that moment and also to do what I did all season abroad and bring it back to my teammates.”
In 23 games for Galatasaray, his foreign team in Poland, McCowan averaged nearly 19 points (18.6) and 11.6 rebounds.
The drivers drive
Of 14 players who saw the field last night, half of them finished with at least four attempts from the free throw line. The overall explanation is pick and roll. It didn’t matter if it was Kalani Brown, Teaira McCowan or Natasha Howard, the Sky couldn’t defend the action. Elizabeth Williams and Isabelle Harrison committed five fouls each, Kahleah Copper having counted four herself.
From the first whistle to the very last, the Wings were the loudest team on the field on both sides, but the defensive side is what piqued my interest. For a team that had such limited practice time before its first exposure, Dallas moved like once again, especially when guarding Copper. The active hands of Diamond DeShields and Arike Ogunbowale took the lion’s share of the responsibility of guarding Copper and thrived doing so. Satou Sabally’s assisting side defense played a vital role in the second leg defense that Copper has made famous time and time again.
Shooting, decision making on the stretch
Despite Dangerfield’s late-game heroism that helped generate the 19-10 run, it was clear the team still had flaws in their armor – as expected – in the face of adversity. When the Sky locked on defense with several minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Wings’ goodwill built up over the first three quarters was nearly wasted as ill-advised jump shots were taken instead of headed towards the edge.
“When we had a time out [I said] we weren’t even looking to pass, we were going down and let it fly,” Trammell said of his team’s decision making. “Coaches always joke about it, that if it fits we cheer and that’s exactly how I drew it. We took too many quick shots so that’s a small area I’m going to show them on film and that’s an area we’re going to improve before Indiana.
Natasha Howard’s haircut
When the trade of three-time WNBA champion Natasha Howard was announced, my first thought was how it would positively impact McCowan’s development and help the Wings. McCowan is a traditional post player with a budding mid-range jump shot. In order to make the most of its potential, the deal was a no-brainer. Like McCowan, Howard is lethal around the basket but possesses the ability to come out for a three-pointer in a timely manner. Defensively, McCowan can occupy the paint, while Howard checks one of the opponent’s best wings. That’s exactly what we saw last night. The synergy was thriving as McCowan shared this week after training camp.
“I like that she’s looking for the big ones on the inside, so playing with her is going to be awesome this year.”
The Wings wrap up their preseason game at Indiana by battling the fever next Saturday at 12 p.m. CST.