The Dallas Wings (11-9) entered the 2023 WNBA All-Star break on a high note, having won three straight games for the first time this season. Their most recent victory, a 107-67 drubbing of the Minnesota Lynx, was not only the Wings’ most impressive win of the season, but was a historic win; the 40-point margin of victory is the largest in franchise history, surpassing a 37-point win back in 2000 when the team was known as the Detroit Shock.
Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale also logged the first double-double of her storied WNBA career, recording 18 points and 11 assists in the win, while reigning Western Conference Player of the Week Natasha Howard continued her strong play with 28 points and 14 rebounds. These were cherries on top of a tremendous offensive performance from Dallas, which scored a whopping 52 points in the paint — a season-high for the team.
For a Dallas team whose record has floated at or around the .500 mark for most of the season, the Wings’ most recent win not only set records, but established some momentum as well. Though there still isn’t much separating the Wings from other playoff hopefuls like the Washington Mystics and Atlanta Dream (both 11-8) in the WNBA standings, it’s important that Dallas beats the teams it theoretically should beat. Sprinkle in a few upset wins over giants like the Las Vegas Aces, such as the thriller that started the Wings’ current winning streak, and Dallas will be sitting pretty for a playoff appearance.
Of course, making the playoffs and advancing in them are two entirely different measures of success, and the Wings are still trying to attain the latter after first-round postseason exits in 2021 and 2022. Victories against lesser teams like the Lynx will certainly get them there, but Dallas must continue the momentum it’s established into the second half of the season and prove it can consistently hang with the WNBA’s best teams during the regular season if its postseason results are going to improve as well.
Ogunbowale, Sabally participate in 2023 WNBA All-Star Weekend
Just a couple of All-Stars Starters pic.twitter.com/FdGZhV86ud— Dallas Wings (@DallasWings) July 15, 2023
The Wings were well-represented in the 2023 WNBA All-Star Game, with Ogunbowale making her third appearance in the exhibition and Satou Sabally making her second. Both players were voted as starters, though they were eventually drafted to opposite teams: Ogunbowale was picked to play for Team Wilson (A’ja Wilson) and Sabally for Team Stewart (Breanna Stewart).
Sabally showed out for the victorious Team Stewart (143-127), recording 12 points and six rebounds in 12 minutes of play. Ogunbowale also played well in defeat, racking up 18 points, six rebounds and five assists for Team Wilson.
Ogunbowale and Sabally also participated in the WNBA’s usual pre-All-Star Game festivities. Ogunbowale, who currently ranks No. 4 in the league in 3-pointers made, was chosen to participate in the WNBA’s annual 3-Point Contest (which was won by New York’s Sabrina Ionescu), and she teamed up with Sabally to participate in the Skills Challenge (won by Las Vegas’ Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum).
What’s next for the Wings
The Wings will be off until Wednesday when they play the New York Liberty (14-4) on the road in a morning “camp day” game. Dallas has yet to play the Liberty this season, and it will be another important measuring stick for the Wings against one of the WNBA’s most talented teams.
After that, the Wings will get one more shot at the Los Angeles Sparks (7-13) on Saturday. Dallas has struggled against Los Angeles this season, having already lost three games to the Sparks, and while the Wings rank well ahead of the Sparks in the standings, Dallas can ill afford to go winless against a team it’s clearly better than.