The Dallas Wings opened the season with an impressive 94-71 road win over the Los Angeles Sparks. Opinions varied widely on how successful they were expected to be in the preseason. They had become the first team in WNBA history to draft both the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the draft (Charli Collier and Awak Kuier, respectively) and also added No. 5 pick Chelsea Dungee and No. 13 pick Dana Evans. With those four joining stars Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally, who nearly led the Wings to the playoffs in 2020, the ceiling for Dallas became very high, but people also knew that they were still very young.
So far so good in 2021, but at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday night, the Wings will be hosting the defending champion Seattle Storm (2-1), who already have a win over the mighty Las Vegas Aces. Seattle also lost to the Aces by 16 and nearly lost to a Lynx team that is good but was without its best player in Napheesa Collier. However, the Storm went on a 23-3 run to end the Minnesota game and won by 12 so they have a lot of momentum coming into Saturday.
Seattle’s Breanna Stewart had a quiet 13 points against the Lynx, but was phenomenal in the two games against Vegas and makes the Storm scary every night regardless of any other factors. Jewell Loyd has also made her presence felt in a big way through three games and is one of the best No. 2 stars in the league. And Sue Bird looked as good as ever with 21 points and eight assists against Minnesota.
Dallas will be without the player who led it in scoring in its opener in Allisha Gray, who has 3-on-3 USA Basketball commitments. Kuier and Sabally also have overseas commitments, leaving Ogunbowale and C. Collier with big roles.
Seattle Storm (2-1) vs. Dallas Wings (1-0)
When: Saturday, May 22 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: College Park Center in Arlington, TX
How to watch: Facebook or BSSW+ or JOETV
Key to the matchup: C. Collier (6’5”) will be going up against a solid second-year defender in Ezi Magbegor (6’4”) of Seattle. Magbegor opened the season with two games against 6-foot-8 Liz Cambage and a game against 6-foot-6 Sylvia Fowles. She had good moments defensively in all three games and at the very least is battle tested. Collier opened her career with a double-double against the Sparks. The two expected frontrunners for the scoring title, Stewart and Ogunbowale, will be key in this game as well. Who will have the more prolific scoring night?
Storm injury report: Katie Lou Samuelson (out; temporary suspension)
Wings injury report: Allisha Gray (out; temporary suspension), Awak Kuier (out; temporary suspension), Satou Sabally (out; temporary suspension)