Dallas Wings, Jewell Loyd, Liz Cambage and more

[ad_1]

In the latest WNBA Shootaround, a look at the surging Dallas Wings, the struggling Chicago Sky, Jewell Loyd flaming, Liz Cambage laughing and more.

Arike Ogunbowale captured our attention on Sunday as she single-handedly cut a seven-point gap in the final one minute and 43 seconds. She scored a pair of free-throws, a side-step 3-pointer, and then the game-winning shot from distance with two seconds to spare to beat the Seattle Storm, 68-67. The reigning scoring champion was everywhere and did everything when her team needed it most. This is the Ogunbowale show we’ve become accustomed to watching.

In nine months, the Dallas Wings have created a scoring juggernaut strong enough to beat the 2020 champions. Ogunbowale’s 24 points on 7-of-19 shooting with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals led the way for Dallas but Isabelle Harrison’s 14 points and 8 rebounds off the bench along with Marina Mabrey’s 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting with 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals kept the Wings in range. Last year it felt like Ogunbowale was carrying her teammates. Now they’re supporting her generational talents.

Celebrating one big win would be overkill if the evidence didn’t point to this game being something closer to the norm than a fluke. The team played two other games against the Storm and lost each by three points, including one in overtime. Their 4-5 record makes them look mediocre, but the Wings’ losses were by a total of just 23 points.

They’re in every game and are ready to compete now.

Dallas Wings’ offense is red-hot, and it could get better

The Wings are scoring 104.1 points per 100 possessions, which is the fourth-best mark in the WNBA and 0.5 points per 100 possessions better than last season. Yet their potential is still untapped.

Satou Sabally, the 2020 No. 2 pick, has played just three games this season since returning from the Olympic 3×3 qualifiers, and hasn’t looked herself yet. She’s made just 10 of her first 29 field goal attempts. She’ll bounce back.

Allisha Gray, who scored 13.1 points per game last season on 46.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.2 percent shooting from 3-point range has only played four games since returning from the same tournament, too.

The team also features a ton of high-upside youth like 2021 No. 1 pick Charli Collier and 2020 No. 6 pick Ty Harris in the rotation. The Wings’ roster is filled with former No. 1 scoring options from college, and each young 20-something will have their chance to play.

They’ll need to get better defensively to secure a playoff spot

The Wings are one of just four teams with a positive net rating, meaning they’re outscoring opponents on average. The sample size is still super small, but considering they’ve played Seattle three times, this team could be for real.

The major hiccup that’ll separate them from the league’s elite over the course of a series is their defense, though. They’re allowing a ghastly 102.8 points per 100 possessions, which bests just the Dream and Fever. Their dynamite offense is keeping them in games but anything short of excellent shooting will have them in trouble.

A lot of the fix has to do with the aforementioned players returning. Sabally will have a big task guarding opposing bigs and Gray will trail players like Kayla McBride, Betnijah Laney and Chelsea Gray in upcoming series. We know both players are capable. Now we have to see them in action.

What’ll determine the Wings’ true ceiling is how effective some of their younger players can be on the defensive side. If one another player breaks out, Dallas could be the team nobody saw coming.

Let’s talk about a couple of other things around the league like…

Shouts to new head coach Noelle Quinn for drawing up this perfect play which resulted in her two best players open for game-winning or tying shots with 0.8 seconds left in regulation.

Loyd’s screen for Sue Bird sent two players defending the decoy as Loyd ran off Stewart’s slip. Stewart was open enough to get a lob at the rim but fortunately, Loyd caught the pass, turned, and launched the picture-perfect shot from range.

Wow!

Liz Cambage started hysterically laughing as she posted up Tina Charles

I’ve got nothing except hahahhahahahaha Liz.

I love when players enjoy the game they’re so good at and this was Cambage being herself. She’s ruthless.

The Chicago Sky are struggling, but maybe Candace Parker’s return will flip their WNBA season

The Sky dropped seven consecutive games until Candace Parker’s return on Wednesday, where they beat the Indiana Fever, 92-76. Parker only played 18 minutes and scored 3 points on 1-of-9 shooting with 5 rebounds and 2 assists.

Hopefully, Parker will improve as she gets readjusted to the lineup and Chicago’s able to climb back into the upper echelon of the playoff hunt. Their margin for error will be tight for the rest of the season if their goal is to finish as a top-two seed to avoid playing in a single-elimination game.

Nneka Ogwumike is out for 4-to-6 weeks with an injured knee

The Sparks got brutal news last week as it was announced that Ogwumike suffered a Grade 2 knee sprain and will miss at least a month. Chiney Ogwumike is also week-to-week with knee soreness.

Still, after the news, L.A. responded with wins over the Fever and then the Sky. Let’s see if Kristi Toliver, Amanda Zahui B. Erica Wheeler and the Sparks can stay in the playoff race with the Ogwumikes sidelined.

If opposing teams want to catch up to the Connecticut Sun, their window might be right now.

Jones will fly to France to compete for Bosnia and Herzegovina for a spot in the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and miss the next four-to-six games. It’s a bummer that she’s leaving as Connecticut shares the lead for the best record in the WNBA at 8-2, and Jones is the clear frontrunner for MVP. But we’ll see how the team plays against the Storm, Sky twice, and Wings.

Thanks for reading! We’ll catch up again in another two weeks.

[ad_2]

Source link

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap