- Eric Martinez
Dallas Wings defeat Atlanta Dream 85 to 78 in season/home opener
Every radio announcement leading up to the home opener had Dallas Wings’ players and coaches emphasizing to #PackThePark. This was a way to connect to the community in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to come out Saturday to create a loud environment in the College Park Center on the campus of UT Arlington. Saturday showcased a revamped Dallas Wings’ team that introduced first time WNBA head coach, Latricia Trammell that has had previous experience being an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Sparks and San Antonio Stars. The lower seats started to fill up during warm ups. Many intrigued fans showed up for the first WNBA game of the season for both the Wings and the Atlanta Dream. Dallas-Ft. Worth was very well represented with Dallas Cowboy’s legend Tony Dorsett in attendance in addition to the members of the Dallas Mavericks, JaVale McGee, Theo Pinson, A.J. Lawson and McKinley Wright IV, and Cynt Marshall (CEO of the Mavericks) were all courtside for the matchup.
In what felt like a playoff atmosphere, the Dallas Wings showed dominance from the beginning of the first quarter until the final whistle in the 4th. Wing’s had a complimentary performance between guard Arike Ogunbowale that had 27 points, 4 rebounds in 39 minutes, in addition to an efficient 7 of 13 shooting night for Satou Sabally that added 25 points and 7 rebounds in 35 minutes. The balanced attack also had a rim protector in Natasha Howard that stepped in to play huge minutes when Teaira McCowan went down with an injury. Howard ended the night with 20 points, 10 rebounds and was the anchor defensively late in the game. Atlanta Dream stayed within reach most of the night with several scoring runs that helped cut the lead to 10 points at the end of the 3rd quarter.
For the Atlanta Dream, Rhyne Howard showed brilliance in the paint scoring 20 points and 10 rebounds. Cheyenne Parker showed a scoring balance with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Dream shot 28.1% from the three-point line, which was ultimately their downfall in addition to the 19 turnovers.
Dallas Wings captured their home/season opener at home, which was crucial before an early road trip next weekend that will challenge the team early in the season. As Coach Trammell said during postgame, “I was pleased our team stayed together during the entire game. They withstood the runs from the Dream and get a positive attitude in the huddles during timeouts.” Wings start off 1-0 for the season with the 85 to 78 win. They will travel to Seattle to face the Storm on Friday night and then Chicago against the Sky on Sunday.