May 12, 2022 - Sports

Wings kick off crucial 2022 season

Arike Ogunbowale #24 of the Dallas Wings handles the ball during the game against the Atlanta Dream

Arike Ogunbowale handles the ball against the Atlanta Dream. Photo: Jim Cowsert/NBAE via Getty Images

It's starting to feel like it's now or never for the Wings.

State of play: Led by rising superstar Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas should theoretically be on the cusp of contention. The Wings made three of the WNBA's top five draft picks in 2021 and three of the top seven in 2020.

Yes, but: One of those picks has been released, several others are looking rough and in last week's 2022 season opener, Dallas lost to Atlanta, one of the worst teams in the league.

Why it matters: Since moving to Dallas from Tulsa in 2016, the Wings have not made it out of the first round of the playoffs.

Who to watch: Ogunbowale was named All-Star MVP last season in her first appearance in that game and is an incredible scoring threat. But the Wings will need her to make the jump to a top-five player this year to contend.

  • She's still playing abroad, but third-year forward Satou Sabally is another first-time All-Star who needs to take a major leap this year.
  • The Wings traded two first round picks for Teaira McCowan, a 6-foot-7 center who averaged close to a double-double last year for Indiana. Shoring up the paint once McCowan returns from her overseas commitment will be crucial, as Dallas didn't have a single player average over six rebounds a game in 2021.

What's next: The Wings go for their first win of the season Friday against the Mystics.

👋 Hi, Everett here. As an editor for Axios Local and a degenerate sports gambler, I can tell you that the WNBA is great for those looking for an edge in an under-developed market.

  • My tip: Early in the season, pay attention to which star players are still playing overseas. The Wings, for example, are likely going to give up a ton of points until Sabally and McCowan return. Take the opposing team and the over for their total for the foreseeable future.

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