By: Anthony Miller
The Dallas Wings look to continue their hot streak as they take on one of the best teams in the WNBA in the Connecticut Sun.
Two Natasha Howard free throws to sink the Las Vegas Aces 80-78 back on July 7 is what the Dallas Wings needed to spark their massive five-game winning streak. The Wings have won each of their last three games by double digits that include a season-high 40-point win against the Minnesota Lynx, a ten-point win against the five-loss New York Liberty, and a 14-point win against the Los Angeles Sparks.
Some would argue the fact that only two of the five teams had winning records, but what is impressive is the top teams they have beaten. The Liberty arguably have the best offense in the WNBA while the Aces are the most complete team in the league. Taking down teams of their caliber shows that Dallas is poised for big things in the second half of the season.
The next three games though are really going to test the Wings and show where they are truly at as a team. Their next three opponents all have winning records as they face the Connecticut Sun, the Washington Mystics, and the Las Vegas Aces. Connecticut is in town against Dallas Tuesday night as this will be their second game against each other this season. They last played on June 4 where the Sun defeated the Wings 80-74.
The Rematch Preview
Wings Are Soaring on Offense
What has helped Dallas during this winning streak has been the production of their offense. The Wings’ offense is scoring an average of 101 points per game over the last three games. This is thanks in part to the big three Arike Ogunbowale, Satou Sabally, and Howard scoring most of the points. Each had over 25 points in their last game against the Los Angeles Sparks.
The team’s shooting has shown great improvement as they have shot over 50 percent in a game twice in the last three games. Ogunbowale is holding strong as one of the top scorers in the WNBA averaging just under 22 points per game. Three other players on the roster are averaging double-digit points per game including Howard (18.1), Sabally (17.8), and Teaira McCowan (10.8).
Scouting Report on Connecticut Sun
Connecticut has not been the same since the loss of Brionna Jones who injured her achilles knocking her out of the season. They have leaned heavily on top players Dewanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas to carry the team through the tough period. The Sun performed strongly in July though only losing two of their seven games in the month.
Thomas is the top overall player on the team as she can do it all for Connecticut. She is averaging 14.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, and eight assists per game this season. Her court vision of making the right pass and getting up to grab the boards is one of the many traits that has made her one of the most complete players in the WNBA.
Bonner is another key player for the Sun as she has been their top scorer throughout the season. She is averaging 18.2 points per game, adding 5.3 rebounds per game as well. What has helped Bonner is her shooting as she is shooting over 42 percent from the field. She has improved her three-point shooting as she is hitting 34.8 percent of her three-pointers which is pacing for her best numbers since 2010 with the Phoenix Mercury when she shot 35.8 percent.
What Dallas Needs to Do to Win
The one thing that has changed with Dallas in the winning streak that was not as apparent in the first half of the year was getting off to fast starts. Dallas’ offense has struggled to score points in the first quarter of games, often putting them behind. During the winning streak, they scored at least 23 points in each of those five games in the first quarter.
It’ll be important to get Ogunbowale the ball often to get her in rhythm shooting and see how quickly she catches fire. Dallas will lean on Sabally and Howard to also step up and score on offense as well. They will be needed on the defense and offense side with rebounds as the Wings need to limit the number of possessions Connecticut gets.
Even though Jones is not playing for the Sun, they are still one of the top teams in the league and their defense is a big part of that. Dallas must get points early and often against a defense that has not allowed over 80 points in the last four games. If the Wings can hit the 80-point mark in the game, they have a good chance of pulling off another win and adding six to their winning streak.
Featured Image via Twitter (@DallasWings)