By: Anthony Miller
The WNBA announced their ten starters for the All-Star Game in July with two Dallas Wings being named so far, but there could be another Wings player that should be named an All-Star.
On Sunday, the league announced their ten starters for their July 15 All-Star game. Two of the starters are from the Dallas Wings as guard Arike Ogunbowale and forward Satou Sabally were named for the starting lineups.
Ogunbowale has been named to her third WNBA All-Star game as a professional. She is third in the league in points per game with 22.4. Ogunbowale is also tenth in the league in assists, averaging 4.4 assists per game. She has led the team in points in six of their 14 games this season, including a career-high 41 points in their 109-103 loss to the Seattle Storm on June 17.
Sabally is making her second appearance in the WNBA All-Star game after her last appearance back in 2021. She is currently ninth in the WNBA in points averaging 18.6 points per game and third in rebounds per game with 9.9. Both of those stats are career highs for Sabally. Her performance this season has led to nine double-doubles including being the first in franchise history to record seven straight double-doubles.
It made sense for Ogunbowale and Sabally to make it as starters as they have been two of the top ten players in the league for their performances. Ogunbowale is one of the top scorers in the league and has improved on her passing. Sabally has been accurate with her shooting as well as being aggressive on the boards and playing good defense in the paint.
The rest of the league will have to wait until Saturday, July 1 to hear their names called as one of the 12 reserves voted by the head coaches. It will conclude with Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson and New York Liberty’s Breanna Stewart drafting those 12 reserves on Saturday, July 8 prior to the WNBA All-Star game. When the reserve list does come out, there is one deserving Dallas Wings player who should be on that list.
Making the Case for Natasha Howard
Arguably the third-best player on the Dallas Wings roster has been Natasha Howard who has turned out to be a great acquisition for the team. Howard came into the season with an already impressive resume that includes three WNBA titles, two WNBA All-Star appearances, two WNBA All-Defensive Team selections, was named 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, and was named 2018 WNBA Most Improved Player.
This season, she has scored 16.6 points per game which would rank her 17 on the WNBA scoring list. Howard is also ranked 11 in the league in rebounds per game with 7.6. She is in the top ten in the WNBA in blocks (1.4) and free throw percentage (94.7).
The biggest difference Howard has made for the team is her defense and the presence she brings in the paint for them. She has already proven to be a great shot blocker and will go up to grab rebounds on the defensive side. Rarely is Howard giving up an open shot in the paint or on the perimeter.
Offensively, Howard has been good there as she has been selective on her shot selection and when she is taking opportunities. She’s proven to hit shots from inside the paint as well as outside of it. Her style of offense is like Sabally’s as they can hit from anywhere on the floor, but Howard’s specialty is defense.
Howard was in the WNBA All-Star game last year and there should be a case for her to make it in there again. She has proven to be at least in the top 20 in the WNBA as she is a complete player playing well on offense and defense. It would be disappointing to not see her selected for her third WNBA All-Star appearance as she has earned the right to represent Dallas in the game.
Featured Image via Twitter (@DallasWings)