For the third straight year and fifth time overall since relocating from Tulsa to Dallas in 2016, the Wings are playoff-bound once again.
Dallas clinched a playoff berth Friday night behind All-Star forward Satou Sabally’s career night in various formats from points to her performance behind the arc. She poured in 40 points on a staggering 90 percent true shooting clip. She managed to connect on 66 percent of her twos (6-of-9) and 70 percent of her threes (7-of-10).
When asked about her dominant showing, Sabally did what she always does; thank and congratulate her team for helping her get to where she is. The deep humility she displays is what separates a true leader from the rest. More times than not this season, she’s shown she’s taken the next step not only as a superb basketball player but also as a teammate and overall human.
Though some may say that they knew this was what Sabally was capable of, she’s let it be known on several occasions this year that even she herself took a step toward being an elite all-around player. This is why she’s the front-runner for Most Improved Player.
Satou Sabally:— Justin Carter (@juscarts) September 2, 2023
First three years: 12.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, 39.3/25/84.6 splits
This year: 17.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 4.3 APG, 42.5/35.5/87.5 splits
I know there’s a “she was always capable of this” argument against her winning MIP but, like, she made THE leap this season.
After the game and a change of clothes after being doused on the court by her teammates, Sabally had this to say about her career-night and head coach Trammell:
“There’s so much going on right now. We clinched, we’re happy for our coach who got her first playoff berth, and happy for the team because everyone is playing so great, as well as my individual performance.”
When Sabally checked out of the game for the final time, she was seen embracing Trammell on the sideline. This is what she said about it:
“She said ‘I’m so proud of you and good job’ and I said I’m proud of you too. There’s a lot of respect in that.”
Trammell the Truth
When head coach Latricia Trammell was brought in the off-season to lead the Wings last November, there were numerous questions that needed answers surrounding personnel. After countless instances of doubt about her fit with Dallas long-term, Allisha Gray was traded to the Atlanta Dream this past February after requesting a trade.
Free-agent forward Isabelle Harrison signed with the Chicago Sky after dealing with inconsistent playing time. The point in all of this is that the team lost two of their best players with a rookie head coach in Trammell just starting her journey. Through trials and tribulations this season, Trammell has displayed time after time that she was the right choice to lead Dallas into a future of prosperity.
When speaking with the media after the win, this is what Trammell had to say about her team’s performance as well as clinching a playoff berth:
“It's a heaviness lifted because you want it so bad for your players and the organization. There were times on the bench tonight when I was yelling a bit more than usual and they [players] asked what’s wrong and I said I just want this so badly for you all. It’s an exciting time, but it's not over. We’re going to enjoy this though. We still have a lot more work to do. I’m so proud of them. I'm honored, blessed, and grateful that I’m going on this journey with them.”
When talking about her team and what they mean to her, Trammell shed a tear or two as she’s known by her team for it whenever they are the subject. You can feel the raw emotion, whether in person or through a screen. Keep in mind the question asked by The Shorthorn’s Issac Cappelt was about Trammell making the playoffs in her first year as head coach of the Wings. Once again, this is the coach and leader you want at the head of your team.
When asked about Sabally’s offensive light show, Trammell smiled immediately and got right to it:
“I tell you what. Satou came up big for us. She had a career-high in points and threes, shooting 70 percent. She was huge for us.”
With just four games remaining in the regular season, Dallas plays host to the Fever on Sunday at College Park Center on ESPN3.