ARLINGTON, Texas — Arike Ogunbowale scored 20 of her 27 points as Dallas built a 17-point halftime lead and the Wings beat the Atlanta Dream 85-78 Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
Satou Sabally added 25 points and Natasha Howard had 20 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks for Dallas. Howard, a three-time WNBA champion and the league's 2019 defensive player of the year, was acquired in a trade in January.
"She's strong, her physicality is great, she has a nice touch on the basketball," Wings Head Coach Latricia Trammell said about Satou. "So, when T went out, we had to kind of rotate, as you saw Natasha in and then Satou in. We were doing a little bit more of high low but the determination that she had and being able to create around the rim and heavy traffic. I almost asked her for her autograph after the game. It was really good.”
Ogunbowale scored 12 points — including the final 10 — in a 19-0 run that made it 33-18 when she hit a 3-pointer to cap the spurt with about six minutes left in the first half.
Allisha Gray converted a three-point play that trimmed Atlanta’s deficit to 81-78 with 1:04 to play — the closest the Dream had been since the first quarter — but Veronica Burton and Sabally each made two free throws from there to cap the scoring.
Rhyne Howard had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Dream, but made just 8 of 24 from the field. Cheyenne Parker added 18 points and 11 rebounds and Gray — acquired from the Wings via trade in January — had 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Trammell won her first game as a WNBA head coach. Trammell, who spent the last four seasons as an assistant with the Los Angeles Sparks, replaced Vickie Johnson in November. Johnson was not retained as Dallas's coach despite leading the team to its first .500 season (18-18) since moving to Dallas in 2016 and leading the franchise to a playoff-game win for the first time since 2009, when they were still known as the Detroit Shock – two relocations ago.
“I'm happy for the players," Trammell said about her first win. "They did grind. We had players- the starters played heavy minutes. I'm just proud. They're the ones why we're here, right? So, to see the locker room and see the smiles on their faces and they're tired for sure, because the entire group had to battle. This is a great way to go back and look, it's the first game, right? That gave us a lot of things that we can see that we need to work on, implement, continue to move forward on this road trip and move in a positive way. That's all we can do.”
Diamond DeShields, acquired by the Wings from Phoenix via a four-team trade in Febraury, did not play. The No. 3 pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft, DeShields played about 20 minutes in the Wings’ preseason opener, but has not appeared in a game since. The team announced Wednesday that the 28-year-old guard, who won the 2021 WNBA title with the Chicago Sky, would miss “extended time” due to a knee injury.
Atlanta’s Danielle Robinson left the game with about eight minutes left in the first half and Dallas' Teaira McCowan left early in the third quarter, due to left knee injuries and did not return.
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