The WNBA’s talent pool continues to grow and get better. In turn, it is more difficult to get a win night in and night out in this league. While it pays to have good defense, you must be able to score to get Ws. The Dallas Wings have had major issues with the latter and it has been…problematic.
For a team that thrived on offense in the past, it’s been somewhat surprising to see them struggle so much. They have yet to find a rhythm and develop offensive chemistry. The toughest thing to figure out has been the rotation. With the limited amount of time in training camp, especially with new players, it can be difficult to quickly find out who plays best with who on the court and who has the best chemistry together.
Few teams have been better than Dallas on defense so far this season. But everyone has been better on offense. As of Sunday June 9, Dallas is the only winless team in the league. No team is undefeated after the first couple weeks.
The three-point shot has become vital in today’s game. Only two teams in the league have a winning record so far while making less than six threes per game. In Sunday’s 86-62 loss to the Mystics, Washington made 12 threes compared to just three made by the Wings. The Mystics had four players shoot 50 percent or better in the game, all with at least nine attempts each. It also didn’t help that Arike Ogunbowale suffered an ankle sprain early in the game. Without both of their fighting Irish alumni, it will be more of a struggle than ever to find some buckets on offense.
“Focus on the little things,” said Glory Johnson on her takeaways moving forward. “Continue to play together. We’re still learning each other. This is a team, but we’re still figuring out where certain people’s spots are, hitting the hot hand, and all that. I think we saw a lot of good things out of certain players. Imani (McGee-Stafford) stepped up.”
“[Isabelle Harrison] stepped up for us with the rebounding so we just have to keep on focusing on doing some of the small things and our defense,” continued Johnson. “We love defense. I love defense. The defense is always something that’s going to make us look better. It’s going to start our offense. For me, it’s like once we start playing defense, especially in transition, our offense is going to come way easier.”
Dallas lost their first two games by single digits with each game going down to the wire. But they have now lost by fifteen or more in their last two outings. Inconsistency: A trend that carries on from year to year with the Wings. For example, The Wings had a five game win streak last year around midseason, winning 7 games out of 8 to start July after opening the month with a loss. But followed up that good span with nine straight losses and just one win from July 15-August 17.
“You try to address them and you talk about them,” said Agler on the team’s inconsistency. “You practice the things you need to work on and then you see if you can apply it to a game situation. I have seen quite a bit of improvement here. I mean obviously it is not where we want to be, but we’ll get there.”
Agler’s confidence in this group has been refreshing to both players and fans. It seems it’s like one thing after another with the team this year. It started with the Liz trade. Then the question of when will Sky be back. Then who’s staying on the team, then who’s starting, then how will the rotation be and who will get opportunities. Now the team’s star rookie goes down. It never ends.
After being around this team for a while, I can tell you that this team has no quit whatsoever. It is not easy at all to go from two all-stars to none and just win games, especially when those two were obviously the top players on the team. The team is still trying to find their identity, what works, and what doesn’t on the fly.
Then again, what team wants to peak in June? It’s somewhat an advantage to the team to not have things figured out. It gives them time to progressively figure out things throughout the course of the season. Hopefully, they’ll have all issues worked out by the time the post-season arrives. Last season, Dallas appeared to peak around mid-season near the time of their win streak. Then, everything fell off of the tracks for the team after the all-star break.
Agler needs to assign roles. It could speed up the process as far as building chemistry with each other and even clear the air for whatever players aren’t sure of their role on this team. Also caution that these roles could be subject to change when they get their entire team back. It would give the players a more centered focus on the court and improve the team as a whole.
With the amount of talent this team has, it’s a surprise they haven’t won just yet. Two games on tap for the second half of this week on Thursday and Saturday night at home. The Wings have a great chance to secure a win or two considering how electric the building was for the home opener.