The Dallas Wings (4-3) are back above .500 after a close win over the Phoenix Mercury (1-4). Despite trailing for most of the game and struggling with their outside shooting (4-of-23 on 3-pointers), the Wings locked down on defense in the fourth quarter and finished the game on a 12-2 run to complete the comeback.
Though the Wings’ effort was characterized mainly by team stats — Dallas outrebounded Phoenix 50-26 and attempted 27 free throws to the Mercury’s 13 — they got a few standout performances as well, particularly in their frontcourt. Forward Satou Sabally recorded another huge double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds and hit a trio of 3-pointers, continuing what has been a breakout season and raising her averages through seven games to 22.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, three assists and 1.9 steals per game. Sabally is also shooting a career-high from both 2-point (53.7 percent) and 3-point range (36.4 percent).
Center Kalani Brown also played a crucial role in the Wings’ victory. Signed using an emergency hardship exception in the wake of injuries to Diamond DeShields and Lou Lopez Sénéchal, Brown got the start against Brittney Griner and the Mercury and more than held her own, recording 17 points and 15 rebounds, both of which were career highs. While it had previously been Natasha Howard getting the start at center with Brown coming off the bench, Wings head coach Latricia Trammell opted for a bigger lineup against the 6-foot-9 Griner, which will probably be something she turns to again against larger opponents.
Rookie forward Maddy Siegrist had a career night, too, recording 14 points and eight rebounds (five offensive) in 19 minutes off the bench. Even with injuries to the Wings at both the small forward and power forward positions, Siegrist hadn’t established a consistent role in Dallas prior to Wednesday’s game, so perhaps this will be the start of something more prominent for the heralded Villanova product.
Sims assumes backup point guard duties in place of Dangerfield
Odyssey Sims is back in Dallas and made her 2023 debut against the Mercury. She was signed using an emergency hardship exception given to the Wings when guard Crystal Dangerfield injured her ankle last Sunday against the Connecticut Sun.
Though Sims’ evening was cut short when she collided with Griner and had to leave the game, she did record six assists in 20 minutes off the bench, essentially splitting time with starting point guard Veronica Burton (three assists in 21 minutes). Those minutes will be important in the future as the Wings scramble to find enough ball-handling reps between Burton and Arike Ogunbowale (20.6 points per game); ideally, Dallas would like to continue playing Ogunbowale off the ball, so assuming Sims is in good health, don’t be surprised if she continues to get a decent number of minutes moving forward.
What’s next for the Wings
In an interesting scheduling quirk, the Wings will play the Mercury once again on Friday, before heading to New York to play the Liberty (4-2) for the first time this season on Sunday — a game that will be televised nationally on ABC. The Wings went 2-1 against the Liberty in 2022.