On Tuesday morning, the Dallas Wings made a move at the deadline as most had expected they would. But it wasn’t particularly the move that many had predicted. They traded veteran forward, Theresa Plaisance, for the 9th overall pick in this year’s draft, Kristine Anigwe from the Connecticut Sun. For Dallas, the move clarified how they see their future.
By acquiring Anigwe, the Wings get a unproven yet intriguing talent in her rookie year. In 2018-2019 at Cal, Anigwe was the National Defensive Player of the Year. She led the nation in rebounding with 16.2 per game and broke the Pac-12 single-season rebounding record with 533 rebounds. With the Sun, she hasn’t had much opportunity to show off her skills due to MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jonquel Jones soaking up most of those minutes at her position. Anigwe has only played seven minutes per game through seventeen games. She is averaging just 2 points and 2 rebounds per game.
Many things for Dallas have not happened this year as they had hoped. The Wings had hoped to remain in playoff contention in the absence of Skylar Diggins-Smith. They also hoped that she would return later this season, which has not yet happened and doesn’t look as if it will. They wanted to see Moriah Jefferson play this season after acquiring her in the Liz Cambage trade, which has also not yet happened.
The youth movement is in full effect for the Dallas Wings. Even before the Plaisance trade, they were the youngest team in the league at an average age of 25 years old. By trading for the 22-year old Anigwe, Dallas just got even younger.
Anigwe hasn’t gotten the chance this year to display her talents fully at this level. But with what we’ve seen from rookies Arike Ogunbowale and Megan Gustafson, all she needs is a chance. She will get that chance in Dallas. Dallas’ next contest is August 8th against the Seattle Storm and Anigwe will be available for that matchup, per source. But there is no guarantee that she will play in Seattle. We should see her get decent minutes on August 10th against Phoenix.
Peace Out Plaisance
The trade for Dallas spells good things for the future as the team gets younger and expands their window to contend. But it’s also good for Theresa Plaisance. She is now on a serious contender for the WNBA title, where she can be a big contribution off the bench and stretch the floor.
Plaisance has always been a fan favorite here in Dallas and very well liked amongst the media as well. No matter the struggle for the team this season, she has remained upbeat and confident that the team is getting better and things will fall into place.
“Theresa has been a part of our team for six seasons,” said CEO Greb Bibb. “And has worked tirelessly to transform herself from a third-round draft pick into a WNBA starter.”
She was one of just four veterans on the Dallas roster who has more than just a few years of experience in this league. She will be a valued member to the Connecticut Sun team and community.
Her impact off the court was just as important as her impact on the court. Plaisance was most recently named the Community Assist State Farm Player of the Month for the Wings. This past month, she was apart of “Her Time To Play”, one of the team events. Plaisance shared how she found the game of basketball and what made her choose to play this game.
— Drew (@UncleDrew_20) July 15, 2019
Theresa is one those players, similar to Kaela Davis, who is all about the fans. A truly selfless person and loves to show love whenever she can get the chance. After every home game, unless they have an event immediately following, the Dallas Wings have a pair of players who sign autographs for season ticket holders.
One of those times it wasn’t Theresa’s turn to be at the autograph signing table, she came out and signed a bevy of autographs anyway. Her impact in the locker room, on the court, with the fans, and the media will be greatly missed in Dallas. The Sun got a good one in Theresa Plaisance.
She’s not at the autograph signing table today, but that’s no biggie for @tplai55. She’s all about the fans and signing those autographs anyway! #ThisIsWhyWePlay #WNBA | @TheWinsidr pic.twitter.com/ZKTgfq3Tar
— Drew (@UncleDrew_20) June 21, 2019
Also a great sign that she is all smiles as she meets her new team.
— Connecticut Sun (@ConnecticutSun) August 8, 2019
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Tons of heartfelt thanks goes out to the @dallaswings and Tulsa Shock front offices and coaches who have believed in me and helped me grow both on and off the court. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of your organization, and making a home away from home for me for the past 5 and a half years. To my teammates, I am better today because of each of you. I will forever be grateful and each of you will be in my heart! I will always cherish all the fun times we had and all the laughs we shared! There are way too many to count! To all the fans!!! Wow I cannot even put into words how much each and every one of you mean to me! Stepping on the court and being able to play in front of you every game was an honor, and I felt the love through all the ups and downs. I cannot thank y’all enough!!! To all of you who work behind the scenes and supported me on my journey thus far, I thank you and pray that God’s graces are with each of you. “We walk by Faith and not by sight.” I'm excited to be heading to the @connecticutsun and for the new opportunity ahead! Thank you again Dallas and y’all will forever hold a special place in my heart! God Bless! • "Don't forget where you came from, but never lose sight of where you are going.”
Anigwe will fit in well in Brian Agler’s system. The system will allow her to play her game. The Wings needed a young defensive presence and Angiwe fits the mold. Plaisance started 12 out of 22 games this season, so it will be interesting to see how the rotation flows the rest of the season. Gray and Ogunbowale will be called on more as threats from three-point range as the Wings traded away their only stretch four/five aside from Glory Johnson.
Megan Gustafson continues to try to expand her game. But she is not the deep threat that she soon hopes to be. Kaela Davis can shoot from three, but she is at her best attacking the rim. Brooke McCarty-Williams can shoot the three pretty well, but doesn’t garnish enough minutes to pose a big threat.
As we can see with Ogunbowale and Gustafson, college stars can thrive in Dallas. There is no reason a player of Anigwe’s caliber cannot do the same. She fits into what Agler is doing here in Dallas and is more defensive minded.
Make no mistake about it, Anigwe can score the ball. In her sophomore campaign at Cal, she put up 50 points on 19-of-23 shooting against Sacramento State. She once had a 32-point and 30-rebound game in college in the 18-19′ season on the road against Washington State. She can really be a star in this league if given the chance to prove it.
If Dallas can hit some sort of stride and go on a win streak, they can still be a playoff team believe it or not. The Lynx just got off four game losing streak that they had been riding and are only a handful of games above Dallas in the WNBA standings. Now, just because it’s possible, doesn’t mean that it WILL happen. The Wings may be better off just competing the best that they can and developing their young core of Ogunbowale-Gustafson-Anigwe. With All-Star veteran Diggins-Smith not leading them until next year, fans can fall in love with the top four prospects in the 2020 WNBA draft.
“We believe Kristine is an elite rebounder with tremendous potential on both sides of the ball,” said Bibb. “We are excited for her to continue to develop her game as a member of the Wings organization.”
In the past two seasons when Dallas has made the playoffs with a primarily healthy team, they have been a first-round exit in the playoffs. Partly having to do with the fact that they’re pretty much squeezing in there by just a hair and the other part being it’s been a road matchup each year where they’ve been one and done both years. Whose to say that won’t change in the coming years? Only time will tell in regards to that. All they can do right now is focus on developing the players they have right now, because this team is not by any means competing for a championship in 2019.
Allisha Gray is shooting her best mark from three-point range this season at 31 percent from deep and Ogunbowale is slightly above at 32 percent. Once Anigwe can garnish minutes and establish herself as an inside presence at this level, then she can open things up for outside shooters. Because contrary to last season, Dallas doesn’t really have that inside presence. Megan has done well, but she’s not a big enough threat just yet. In a way, Dallas has formed a collegiate super team. Gray and Davis were National Champions with South Carolina. Obviously A’ja Wilson was the focal point, but they played key factors as well and Gray was the Rookie of the Year in 2017 and Davis was on the All-Rookie team as well. Ogunbowale won a National Championship herself in college and Gustafson was the AP Player of the Year. Combine all of this with Anigwe’s credentials and there you have it. An incredible young core to build upon. With this move, Dallas expanded their championship contending window by 1-2 years.