For the first time since relocating to North Texas in 2016, the Wings have won a playoff series after annihilating the Atlanta Dream in Game 2, 101-74.
Star guard Arike Ogunbowale led Dallas with 20 points and seven assists. Satou Sabally finished with 13 points and six assists. Awak Kuier had 13 points followed by Teaira McCowan who had a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds.
Crystal Dangerfield scored 11 points on a 66.7 percent shooting mark. Despite an 0-6 start in the first quarter, Natasha Howard ended up one rebound short of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
When training camp commenced back in early May, the ambiance surrounding the Dallas Wings was unrecognizable from that of the past several seasons. The happiness was genuine, and the camaraderie felt organic.
“I enjoy coming to work every day”, said Wings forward Awak Kuier during camp. “Practice, scrimmages, off the court, this team is special.”
The word “sisterhood” is often thrown around when discussing the WNBA and the remarkable women who lead it on the court. Throughout the 2023 season, Wings players displayed this in countless instances: from an early morning bike ride in Seattle a day before facing the Storm or meeting up to play pickleball on an off day.
Halfway through the season, Kuier noted the status of the team’s chemistry since training camp.
“We have a really good group. I think we all get along”, she said. “It doesn’t matter who I’m talking to, I’m always having a good time and that helps with what you said about enjoying coming to work. When people around you are always supporting you and happy and enjoying their time, it makes it super fun to come to work and be around them.”
Throughout the campaign, veteran forward Natasha Howard played a sizeable role in all of this from her leadership and brute honesty when the sun wasn’t always shining the brightest. Like my grandma used to say, I’ll tell you a joke, but I’ll never tell you a lie.
When Howard spoke with The Athletic’s Dorothy Gentry recently, she told her that Dallas’ streak of failing to win a playoff series would end this season. “I have a feeling, deep down in my soul,” she said. “I believe we can go deep in the playoffs. I see us as a team that, together, no one can beat us. We have so many weapons. We have so many people who can play any position on the team.”
Howard couldn’t have been more on the money. Up next though, comes the biggest challenge of the season, as the Dallas Wings are set to face the number one seed Las Vegas Aces. That series kicks off on Sunday, September 24th.