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WNBA Draft Recap: The Dallas Wings make big moves

One pro team in Dallas will be playing basketball this summer

WNBA: WNBA Draft Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

As you may have heard, the Dallas Mavericks are done playing basketball for the next six months. This unexpected early exit for our Mavs leaves a giant chasm in the hearts of local hoops junkies throughout the metroplex. But in just over a month, the WNBA regular season will tip off (May 19) to fill that void. Enter the Dallas Wings, who are looking to finally take the next step and join the elite class of the league.

The Wings have been active all offseason, making major roster changes as they attempt to build a contending team around superstar guard Arike Ogunbowale. Dallas entered the 2023 WNBA draft armed with the third, fifth, 11th, 19th, and 31st overall selections. It’s important to remember that the talent pool in the 36 player draft is not nearly as deep as its NBA counterpart, and many drafted players don’t make it past training camp. Roster spots are at a premium in the W, and unfortunately, many talented players selected in the later parts of the draft get squeezed out. But even so, the Wings had a ton of draft capital to make things happen. Here’s a rundown of the players Dallas selected and what we can expect from them.

3rd overall: F Maddy Siegrist, Villanova

Siegrist is what the kids call a “bucket getter.” Her 29.2 points per game led all of Division 1 college basketball. Siegrist is an effective and efficient three-level scorer; she shot 51% from the floor and 36% from three in her final season at Villanova. For a forward, she is a little undersized for the WNBA at a generous 6’2, and she doesn’t possess elite athleticism. But she has excellent feel for the game and is an elite off-ball cutter. There are real questions as to how her game will translate at the professional level, especially since she’ll have to adjust from her historic usage rate (37.6% last year) at a middling program. Her jumper is a bit unorthodox and she doesn’t have the quickest release. The defense will be a question mark at best. Overall, I see Siegrist as a classic high floor, lowish ceiling player who should be a safe bet to provide scoring, rebounding, and floor spacing right away.

4th overall: C Stephanie Soares, Iowa State

Right before the fifth pick was announced, news broke that the Wings traded a 2024 second rounder and 2025 first rounder for the rights to Soares, who the Atlanta Dream selected one pick before. Soares grew up in Brazil and after coming stateside for high school, spent four years at a small NAIA college called The Masters, where she tore her ACL during her junior season. After transferring to Iowa State, she sparkled in 13 games with averages of 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game before tearing her ACL yet again. Soares will not play in the 2023 WNBA season, and therefore will be a stash pick for the Wings. It’s hard not to fall in love with the upside here, as Soares can dominate inside on both ends and stretch the floor from three. The downside is we just haven’t seen a ton of tape on her against high-level competition, and the injury history is a concern. Plus, trading a 2025 first in a potentially legendary draft hurts a bit, too, although Dallas has plenty of picks in their war chest.

5th overall: G Lou Lopez Senechal, Connecticut

To me, this pick is an absolute home run. Lopez Senechal was my favorite player (outside of the obvious top-2 selections) in this draft. I have a special affinity for shooters, and LLS is one of the purest I’ve seen. She excels coming off screens, shooting from relocation, and pulling up off the dribble. Lopez Senechal, like Soares, is coming off her first season against top-level competition; she spent her first four years at Fairfield in the MAAC. The crazy thing is, Lopez Senechal had her most impressive statistical season after making the jump as a graduate transfer to UCONN. She scored 15.5 point per game while shooting 44 (!!!) percent from three on 4.7 attempts per game and helped lead a Paige Bueckers-less Huskies team to a number two seed and a Sweet Sixteen finish. Earning coach Geno Auriemmma’s trust is no easy feat, especially in your first year with his squad. Lopez Senechal was able to do just that with her all around stellar play. She likely won’t be a superstar at the WNBA level, and there are questions about defense and offensive versatility, but the shooting will always play. She’ll be a good rotation player for a long time.

11th overall: G Abby Meyers, Maryland

Meyers was erroneously listed at 6’10 on the ESPN broadcast, confusing fans who were told that Dallas had just selected a guard. In actuality, Meyers stands at the more appropriate 6’1 and has skills that the Wings can definitely use. Following the pattern of their previous two selections, Meyers transferred from Princeton to Maryland for her senior season. She had a breakout junior year for the Tigers and continued that excellent play for the Terps, scoring 14.4 points and collecting 2.3 assists per game on 38% three-point shooting. Honestly, this pick was a bit of a reach for me, but Dallas needed a guard and the clearcut best in the draft were already off the board. Hopefully, Meyers can make the roster and provide playmaking and shooting next to Arike.

19th overall: F/C Ashley Joens, Iowa State

I was a little surprised that Joens was still available at 19, as some mocks had her going as high as top 10. Joens had an incredible five-year career at Iowa State, averaging 19.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. She’s a great shooter for her position (36% from three in college) but is a bit undersized for a post player at 6’1. Her game is actually pretty similar to Maddy Siegrist, which may make Joens a bit redundant for the Wings’ roster. Few WNBA teams ever carry four rookies, but it would be disappointing for a player as talented as Joens to be a victim of the roster crunch.

31st overall: F Paige Robinson, Illinois State

Much like Shaq referring to Christian Wood, I wasn’t really familiar with Paige Robinson’s game. She is the first player from Illinois State to ever be drafted into the WNBA. Staying with the theme of the Wings’ draft, Robinson was a graduate transfer from Drury and averaged 18.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season for ISU. There’s almost no chance she makes the roster, but at the very least she’s a dart throw to see what happens in training camp.

Overall, the Wings had an intriguing draft. Dallas has had no shortage of picks in previous years, and most have failed to pan out. Hopefully, this is the year that they hit on multiple players who can help take the team to the next level.