The Dallas Wings improved to 6-4 on the 2022 WNBA season, defeating the Seattle Storm (5-4) 68-51 in a Commissioner’s Cup contest. It was the Wings’ first win since May 24; Dallas had dropped its last two games, and though its victory over the Storm could have been more aesthetically pleasing, it counts all the same for a team in the middle of a grueling road trip.
While Dallas didn’t record its best offensive performance — the Wings shot 39.4 percent field (9-of-27 on 3-pointers), attempted only 11 free throws and turned the ball over 17 times — it was able to keep Seattle at bay for the vast majority of the game, taking a first-quarter lead and never relinquishing it. A new-look starting lineup including Satou Sabally at center performed admirably against Seattle’s big and talented front line, with Sabally recording 11 points, 11 rebounds and six assists alongside workhorse forward Kayla Thornton, who combined with Sabally to total six of the Wings’ 11 offensive rebounds.
As for the rest of the Wings, it was mostly business as usual. Although Marina Mabrey (five points; 2-of-8 shooting) didn’t have her strongest offensive outing, the slack was picked up by Arike Ogunbowale (16 points) and Allisha Gray (18 points). Gray’s offense was particularly efficient (7-of-11 shooting), and she also contributed seven rebounds and two steals.
The biggest story of the game, however, was on Seattle’s end, and not in a good way. The Storm’s 51 points were the second-lowest total scored in a game by any WNBA team this season — only New York (50 points on May 11) and Atlanta (50 points on May 24) have been worse on offense to date in 2022 — and they missed 24 of the 29 3-pointers they attempted. Only Breanna Stewart, who asserted herself as the best player on the floor with 27 points, eight rebounds, three steals and four blocked shots, stood out; Storm shooting guard Jewell Loyd struggled, making 5-of-16 shots from the field, while none of Briann January, Epiphanny Prince nor Kiana Williams (three total points) were particularly effective running the point in place of Sue Bird (health and safety protocols).
If there’s a way to succinctly summarize the game, it’s through Seattle’s shot chart, which, needless to say, is not flattering:
To the Wings’ credit, they rebounded Seattle’s multitude of misses well, ultimately winning the rebounding battle 42-31. The Wings also turned the Storm over 16 times and played disciplined defense, fouling only 14 times and yielding eight Seattle free-throw attempts. It may seem like faint praise, but taking advantage of off nights from opponents is something all good teams must be able to do, and though Saturday’s win over Seattle may not have been the most impressive for the Wings, it was surely one of their gutsiest.
The Wings will conclude their five-game road trip this Sunday, June 5 against the WNBA’s No. 1 team, the Las Vegas Aces (9-2). They’ll then play seven of their next eight games at home, which include rematches against the Storm (June 10) and Aces (June 15). Last season, the Wings went 7-9 both on the road and at home, though they actually outscored opponents by 2.3 points per 100 possessions on the road, compared to a minus-3.9 net rating at home. We’ll see if Dallas can use its upcoming homestand to its advantage this time around.