The Wings couldn’t manage to bring home a win in their home opener at the College Park Center on Saturday. Although they didn’t win, the game further proved that this team is not giving up on the 2019 season. Dallas is definitely here to compete, even if it means trusting the process of getting to know each other.
The Wings lost to one of the best teams from the early season, the Minnesota Lynx, by just three points. They trailed by as much as 14 points in the third quarter. But Dallas got the crowd going with a 14-2 run towards the end of the 3rd quarter. They pulled within three, but couldn’t get the lead as Minnesota pulled away late.
With teammates getting used to one another and head coach Brian Agler tweaking the starting lineup, the full potential of this team remains to be seen. The bench unit has impressed, but the starting unit has not. No fingers are being pointed at anyone. It just doesn’t seem to be a starting unit that is going to work for the season.
“I think just analyzing film and all the things we can grow in,” said Stevens on the team being better next game. “It doesn’t just come down to one last play and that’s with every game. We’re gonna take it, dissect it, see where we can all get better and work on those things in practice and we grow from that.”
Azura Stevens got to see her first bit of action of the season. After having a concussion that forced her to miss the season opener, she was a major part of that unit apart of the comeback attempt. Stevens finished the game with a near double-double tallying 10 points and 8 rebounds.
The team needs to improve their shooting from beyond the arch. Last year, the Wings’ offense ranked among the best in the league. In their two games so far, Dallas has shot 33 percent or worse from three point range. It can spell danger for a lot of teams if they can knock down the open threes.
It’s crucial in the current era to knock down threes if you want to compete in this deep. It seems as if a lot of those shots are forced and bad looks. Part of which can come from team chemistry. Teammates not knowing exactly where you want that pass for your shot makes it more difficult to get a clear look at the hoop. New starting lineups play a part as well. This lineup has only started two games together and never saw the floor together in the preseason.
It starts on the road. Road games are hostile environments and never easy to play in, but in order to compete in this league, you MUST win on the road. Last year, the Wings went 5-12 on the road, the third worst record in the league behind only the Indiana Fever and New York Liberty.
Luckily for the team, they have more home games than away games in the month of June to begin the season. Skylar Diggins-Smith will hopefully be able to travel with the team soon (if not play), which could bring leadership to the squad. Agler praised the importance of her leadership on this team during the post-game.
— unc (@UncleDrewWNBA) June 2, 2019
One of the things that stood out during the post-game press conference was his response to a question about concerns with closing out games. “We’re on page 10 of chapter one. We have a lot of chapters to go. We are playing against teams that already have two or three books written. We’re starting from scratch. We’re playing against two really good teams and we are going to the wire with them, that’s sort of how I look at it. I look at it from that perspective and say, ‘What do we have to do to get better?’”
It stands out because it’s essentially what I’ve been getting at all along since the season began. This thing is new. Many parts and pieces are new. The impressive part is, like Agler said, they are going down to the wire with these good teams already.
Relax and trust the process is all I’m saying. If you’ve watched the team play and you’re not a Wings fan, you probably expected the team to lose both games. I can also guarantee you probably didn’t expect them both to be down to the wire though in each of them.
If you did and you’re not a Wings fan, congrats and welcome to the unfortunately small club of people that believe in the Dallas Wings. If you are a fan, be very happy you have a bright future ahead and begin to let the world know this team can be better than you thought. Hang tight.
Check out everything Agler discussed with the W-Insidr