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Wings Open Regular Season in Atlanta

May 23, 2019 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Dallas Wings News Release

The Dallas Wings tip off its 2019 season against the Atlanta Dream, seeing the Dream to open the season for the first time ever. This is also the first time the Wings have opened the season against on Eastern Conference team since 2016. Against Atlanta last season (5/20/18), the Wings busted out a 37-point second quarter, a season-high for points scored in the second quarter for the year. The team also set highs for free throws made (33), free throws attempted (42) that same game. In a later matchup (5/26/18), the squad recorded 12 blocked shots against Atlanta, another season high.

The two teams met in the first preseason game of the year, with the Dream topping the Wings, but Dallas saw steady production from its starters: Kaela David, Kayla Thornton, Glory Johnson, Allisha Gray and Arike Ogunbowale. The starting unit found its groove in the next preseason game with Davis and Johnson both eclipsing double-digit scoring figures, 11 and 10, respectively. All but 17 of the Wings 71 total points in the game came from the starting unit. The starting five also pulled down 27 of the teams 40 total rebounds, 10 of them coming from Gray.


Through the preseason the Wings were getting contact and going to the foul line. The team's 21.7 attempts and 17.0 makes per game from the charity stripe ranked them third best in the W for preseason action.


Coach Agler's reputation for defense has continued in Dallas. The Wings' defense held opponents to an average of 73.3 points per game this preseason, ranking them fourth best in the League.


Arike Ogunbowale exploded for a game-high 19 points in her second preseason showing after registering four points in the first game. In the win against the Sun, she went 6-of-14 from the floor including 3-of-6 from the three-point line. Ogunbowale added three rebounds and a pair of assists in the victory as well. Ogunbowale's 11.5 points a game in the preseason ranked her No. 21 in the League. She missed the final preseason game so she could attend her graduation from the University of Notre Dame. In her absence, rookie Brooke McCarty-Williams filled in, coming off the bench and tallied a game-high 14 points to go along with three rebounds and two assists.


Newcomers Imani McGee-Stafford and Isabelle Harrison came into camp after arriving in Dallas and made an impact in their lone preseason showing in a Wings uniform. McGee-Stafford collected six points, three rebounds and two assists in less than 10 minutes of action against the Indiana Fever. Harrison snagged two boards and dished out a pair of assists in less than seven minutes of action.


The Dallas Wings traded center Liz Cambage to the Las Vegas Aces in return for guard Moriah Jefferson and forward Isabelle Harrison. The deal also included the Wings picking up Vegas' first and second round picks from the 2020 draft. The Wings made another deal the same day, acquiring Imani McGee-Stafford from the Atlanta Dream for the Wings' 2020 third round pick. Jefferson, 25, averaged 5.4 points a game in 2018 after returning from injury halfway through the season. Harrison, 25, who took a medical leave of absence during the 2018 season, started 33 contests for San Antonio in 2017. McGee-Stafford, 24, appeared in 29 games for the Dream last season, starting two of them.


The Dallas Wings hired two-time WNBA Champion Brian Agler to serve as the team's head coach on December 18, 2018. Agler joins the Wings with more victories than any other coach in U.S. women's professional basketball history. Agler brings more than 30 years of coaching experience to Dallas, including 12 years as a WNBA head coach. Before coming to Dallas, Agler was the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. Compiling an 85-51 overall record, Agler's guided the Sparks to four playoff appearances and the 2016 WNBA Championship. Agler's stint in LA also included back-to-back 28-6 seasons in 2016 and 2017 and a second appearance in the WNBA Finals following the 2017 campaign.


The Dallas Wings resigned the duo of Kayla Thornton and Glory Johnson this off season. Thornton, who claimed a championship with the KB Stars of the WKBL before reporting to camp, started 32 of last season's 34 contests. The UTEP product averaged 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds, all career-high marks, while shooting a career-best 44.7 percent from the field and 86.0 from the foul line. Johnson, entering her seventh season in the WNBA, has spent her entire career with the Wings organization. She appeared in 29 outings last season, averaging 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Johnson's 1,448 total rebounds give her the second most total boards in franchise history.


Dallas' first round draft pick, No. 5 overall, Arike Ogunbowale (Notre Dame) became a household name when she stunned UConn and Mississippi State en route to the Irish capturing the NCAA Championship in 2018 and was vital to the South Bend squad returning to the championship game the following year. She passed Dallas' own Skylar Diggins-Smith this season to become the program's all-time leading scorer. The 2018 and 2019 All-American was All-ACC First-Team in the same years.


The Wings made moves off the court by welcoming Texas Capital Bank as the team's marquee jersey partner. The community efforts of the two organizations started last month with the revitalization of the Sarah Wilke Youth Center, part of the Wesley Rankin Community Center in West Dallas, and will continue with more community events throughout the season and partnership.

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