Dallas Wings of the WNBA — 2021 Season Update and Future Prospects

Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

History. The Dallas Wings of Women’s professional basketball traces its roots to the 1998 inception of the Detroit Shock. The franchise moved South to Tulsa, Oklahoma to launch its 2010 season, then further South in 2016 to its current home of Dallas, TX, where their team’s name changed to The Wings. Under the coaching of former Detroit Piston standout Bill Laimbeer, some early successes were racked up, including most noteworthy a trio of WNBA Championships in 2003, 2006, and 2008. More recent efforts have been less fruitful — since 2010 the team has either failed to reach playoff contention or was eliminated in the opening round. Vickie Johnson, a former two-time All-American guard at Louisiana Tech and a member of its Hall of Fame, would go on to a distinguished 11-year pro career with the New York Liberty. Originally out of rural Louisiana, Ms. Johnson is now in her first year as Wings Head Coach.  Since 2015, the Franchise is owned by a group headed by Bill Cameron, while Greg Bibb oversees operations as the general manager.  

Current Standings. Uphill challenges lie in wait. Although winners of six of their last 10, the Wings are one of three teams in the Western Conference clustered at or near the .500 mark, by a steadily widening margin trailing powerhouses in Las Vegas and Seattle. Only fourteen games remain leading to a mid-September season wind down, casting at best a remote chance at a playoff berth. They’ve been led by 23-year-old Nigerian-American and Notre Dame Alumna Arike Ogunbowale’s per-game averages of 20.2 points, 3.4 assists, and 1.2 steals. Dallas selected her 5th overall in the 2019 Draft with additional similar inspirations needed.        

Recent Draft. The Wings landed three of the first five picks in the recent draft, which were devoted respectively to: a) Charli Collier, Center out of The University of Texas, 1st overall; b) Finnish-born and Egyptian-raised Forward Awak Kuier; c) Chelse Dungee, Guard, 5th overall following All-American seasons at the University of Arkansas. None of these players has yet to contribute much of an impact on the Wings’ 2021 Season. By contrast stands Satu Sabali, chosen 2nd overall out of Oregon and named to the 2020 All-Rookie Team, who is currently leading the Wings with 6.1 rebounds per game.    

Leading Prospects in Next WNBA Draft. The event is still nine months ahead, which at this rate can equate to a decade. Nonetheless, experts and seers peer into April of 2022, seeing the Dallas Wings use the second overall pick to acquire Naz Hillmon. She is a strapping 6’2” power forward with a year of eligibility remaining at the University of Michigan. Her collegiate record is impressive — last season’s per game average of 23 points, shooting 62% from the floor (75% from the stripe), as well as 11 boards and only 2.5 personals. Looks every inch a welcome and productive roster addition. 

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