Finishing the 2019 season with a 10-24 record, the Dallas Wings did not qualify for the WNBA Playoffs for the first time since 2016. Despite missing out on the postseason, the Wings battled through adversity and showed flashes of potential that should leave fans optimistic about the future.
Considering this, let’s take a look back at the Wings’ 2019 season in review.
Leaders: Points (Ogunbowale, 19.1; Rebounds (Harrison, 5.8); Assists (Ogunbowale, 3.2); Steals (Johnson, 1.4); Blocks (Stevens, 1.1)
Welcome to the League, Arike
Selected fifth overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft, Wings’ rookie guard Arike Ogunbowale had a season for the record books. Ogunbowale averaged the third-highest points per game in the entire league and finished second in the league in total points with 630. Ogunbowale’s scoring was historic, including a stretch of 11 straight games of scoring 20+ points and four straight games of scoring 30+ points, both of which are WNBA rookie records. She scored a season-high 35 points twice this past season, becoming the only rookie to do so. Ogunbowale also tied a Wings franchise record for most 20-point games in a season with 18. She capped off her rookie season with 2019 WNBA All-Rookie Team honors. In just one season, Ogunbowale has established herself as a premier scorer in the league and looks to be a household name for years to come.
Emergence of Allisha Gray
In her third WNBA season, the 2017 Rookie of the Year emerged as a go-to option for the Dallas Wings, resulting in a positive spike in a number of statistical categories. In 2019, Gray recorded a career-high in MPG (30.5), FG% (45.7), 3P% (38.4), and RPG (4.1). Gray’s all-around improvements made her quite a productive player in 2019, and she looks to be an excellent complementary piece to Ogunbowale moving forward.
Playing Without Two Stars
After trading Liz Cambage in the 2019 offseason and losing Skylar Diggins-Smith for the entirety of 2019 due to childbirth, the Wings’ roster looked quite different. In 2018, Cambage led the Wings with 23 PPG and 9.7 RPG. She also set the WNBA record for points in a game with 53. Since entering the league in 2013, Diggins-Smith has been a top-tier guard. In 2018, Diggins-Smith averaged 17.9 PPG and 6.2 APG. Combined, Cambage and Diggins-Smith led the wings in PPG, RPG, and APG. In their absence, the Wings saw their total production in all of these categories dip in 2019. Although young talents such as Ogwumike and Gray rose to the occasion, the loss of Cambage and Diggins-Smith proved difficult for the team to overcome.
Although the 2019 season finished without a postseason berth, there is reason for optimism in Dallas. With an established and proven head coach like Brian Agler leading an exciting young core highlighted by standout rookie Ogunbowale, there a several key building blocks already in place. Diggins-Smith is a pending free agent, but could also return to the fold. Additionally, the Wings were awarded the No. 2 overall selection in WNBA Draft 2020, which will land them a top prospect to add to their already promising young core.