By: Anthony Miller
The Dallas Wings have turned things around in the last five games and find themselves in a position to make a second-half run in the season.
It has been an impressive run for the Dallas Wings since June 27 as they have won five of their last six games in that span. Four of those six games were road games for the Wings. They have been able to be top teams in the league including the Washington Mystics and the Las Vegas Aces.
Outside of a tough road loss to the Aces back on July 5, the Wings have looked like one of the hottest teams in the WNBA. With a mix of great offense and strong defense, they have been able to win games and beat the teams they are supposed to. There are some aspects of their game that have helped them be successful in the process to lead them to the wins they are piling up.
Defense Is the Name of The Game
Dallas Wings head coach Latricia Trammell was brought onto the team to specifically focus on improving the defense. It has taken some time, but coach Trammell finally seems to have the team where they need to be defensive. Over the last six games, the Wings are allowing an average of 74 points per game including two games being 70 or fewer points. Only one game during the six games has Dallas allowed 80 or more points and that was their lone loss during the run against the Aces 89-82. Opposing teams are shooting at a 43.5 percentage from the field against Dallas.
Natasha Howard was traded to Dallas at the beginning of the year because of how well she can not only shoot but play defense and that has been on display in the paint. Adding Satou Sabally and Teaira McCowan to their paint presence has made a world of a difference with teams trying to score inside. They have forced either bad shots or forced teams to shoot from outside instead which will lead to low-percentage shots.
Everyone talks about Arike Ogunbowale because of how prolific of a scorer she is for Dallas being one of the leading scorers in the WNBA. An underrated part of her game is how aggressive she is forcing turnovers on defense. Over the last four games, Ogunbowale is averaging three steals a game making life tough for guards being defended by her. Having that aspect of her game step up has made her a more well-rounded player on the court.
The Return of Teaira McCowan
Dallas Wing fans know that the big three in Dallas are Ogunbowale, Sabally, and Howard who have consistently been good for them. What has been missing from the team is finding that fourth option to make the team more complete. There was an influx of players who would have good games in one but struggle in another. Getting Teaira McCowan back in the lineup has helped resolve those issues.
After missing time with a knee injury, McCowan has been able to produce points and rebounds for Dallas they have been needing to take the pressure off Howard and Sabally. In the two games against Las Vegas last week, McCowan got a double-double in both games against the Aces. In their 107-67 win over the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday, she recorded a season-high of 19 points in the win.
It has been a welcomed return for McCowan who, while she won’t score a lot of points, will get the tough points in the paint and rebound. She’s averaging 10.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game this season in ten games and will play a big factor heading into the second half of the season.
This has been a season of inconsistency from Dallas as they started strong, then slipped, and now have appeared to turn things around. Dallas is starting to get healthier leading to success on offense and defense. They have one of the top scorers in Ogunbowale and versatile players in Howard and Sabally. Now it’s about staying consistent and getting out of the sixth spot in the standings. This team has had too many first-round exits and is looking to make progress in that department this season.
Featured Image via Twitter (@DallasWings)