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Wings defeat the Dream in season opener

The Wings close out a blowout turned nail biter in the 4th, 85-78

Atlanta Dream v Dallas Wings Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

With a new-look roster and a rookie head coach, the Dallas Wings entered 2023 like it was the first day of school with a fresh fit and Mikes. As a unit, this team had something to prove. In front of a joyous crowd of 5,588 in attendance at College Park Center and scores watching the ABC broadcast, Dallas did just that.

Latricia Trammell picked up her first win as WNBA head coach as Dallas overcame a dream of a push from Atlanta, 85-78.

McCowan Goes Down

With a minute left in the third quarter, Natasha Howard fell awkwardly into star center Teaira McCowan after a layup attempt, forcing both to the floor. On the way down, McCowan immediately began clutching at her right knee. After being helped to her feet, she jogged back to the locker room with a noticeable limp and did not return. McCowan finished with 4 points and nine rebounds in roughly 15 minutes.

“More information is coming,” said Trammell. “I hated that she could not come back but the minutes that she played were great. We’ll keep her in our thoughts and prayers.”

The Wings are dealing with three knee injuries with Diamond DeShields sidelined indefinitely, Lou Lopez Senechal, and now McCowan.

Without McCowan, the Wings struggled to establish a consistent flow near the rim.

Stupendous Satou

Sabally, who started in place of DeShields, played a thunderous role in every facet of the game. Pouring in 25 points on a scorching 75% True Shooting clip, the fourth-year pro found the time to collect seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks. One of her rejections came at the 11-second mark in the final frame that sealed the win. For forty minutes, not a motion was wasted in initiating the offense or defending two of the game’s brightest stars in Allisha Gray and reigning Rookie of the Year Rhyne Howard.

One of the things I enjoyed most about Sabally’s performance was her bringing the ball up the court – creating an instant mismatch as a 6-foot-5 ball handler – initiating offense.

“We were doing a little bit more of high low but the determination that she had and being able to create around the rim and heavy traffic. I almost asked her for her autograph after the game. It was really good.”

Over the last two weeks, Trammell said that the team is preparing to be without McCowan throughout June as she competes with the Turkish national team in Eurobasket. If what we saw Saturday afternoon is any indication of what is to come, it might be safe to say that the Wings will stay afloat in the standings. If anyone’s efforts will be paramount in a task of such importance, it’s Sabally.

“I’ve had some really hard years. It’s nice to show what I can do. I never stopped believing in myself,” she said.

While Sabally has struggled to stay on the court in her three years in Dallas, she says she’s the healthiest she’s ever been. Watching her play in preseason as well as efforts on Saturday, the Wings will thrive off it as they battle an early bout of uncertainty in the early stages of the season.

OG Ogunbowale

Despite major upheaval in the off season, the crown jewel of the Wings’ years-long rebuild in Arike Ogunbowale unscathed. Throughout training camp, Ogunbowale has led by example in her new journey of unquestioned leadership. What didn’t change was her elite talent with the rock in her hands.

She led all scorers with 27 points – albeit on an inefficient 9-for-25 shooting. The two-time All-Star one two stepped all afternoon on offense, but her sheer will on the opposite end is what propelled Dallas to victory.

Not normally known as a fierce on-ball defender, Ogunbowale was just that yesterday. There wasn’t a screen she didn’t fight over nor a loose ball to tussle over. For the Wings to have any shot at competing with the elite squads in the W, more defensive showcases from their franchise player will be needed on call.