WNBA: Led by Mabrey, Wings seek first-round playoff upset of Sun

The Dallas Wings (18-18) get in the 2022 WNBA playoffs seeded at No. 6 in general, drawing the No. 3 seed Connecticut Sun (25-11) in the postseason’s preliminary. The best-of-three series will start on Thursday, Aug 18, with each video game being telecasted nationally on the ESPN household of networks.

Having completed the routine season with a .500 record for the very first time given that transferring to Dallas in 2015, the playoffs function as the rational next action in the Wings’ franchise trajectory, particularly given that the WNBA got rid of the current single-game removal playoff format that the Wings were bounced from in 2021; they’ll now get, at minimum, 2 video games to show their playoff moxie. The increased chance likewise brings with it a sense of reserved optimism, as Dallas really won its 2022 regular-season series versus Connecticut 2 video games to one.

Season series

Wings 85, Sun 77 (May 24)

The Wings conquer a double-digit halftime deficit, outscoring the Sun 58-38 in the 2nd half to finish an excellent return

Sun 99, Wings 68 (May 26)

Connecticut holds the Wings to 36.9 percent shooting from the field and forces 19 Dallas turnovers to even the season series at one video game each

Wings 82, Sun 71 (July 5)

Led by 32 points from its beginning backcourt, Dallas takes a first-quarter lead over Connecticut and keeps it for the remainder of the video game to win the season series in between the 2 groups

Can new-look Wings bring momentum into playoffs?

With Arike Ogunbowale (left) hurt, Marina Mabrey will require to continue scoring the ball at a high level for Dallas.
Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE through Getty Images

The playoffs are, naturally, an entirely various circumstance than the routine season, and in the Wings’ case, it’s important to think about how their lineup from their regular-season video games versus Connecticut compares to what they’ll be rolling into the postseason with — both for much better and for even worse.

The apparent story will be the lack of guard Arike Ogunbowale, who continues to nurse a stomach injury that she suffered late in the routine season. She was dismissed for the preliminary of the playoffs recently, and Dallas has actually offered no updates on her healing ever since.

Ogunbowale’s 19.7 points per video game in 2022 ranked 4th in the WNBA, and she was the Wings highest-usage gamer (27.6 percent) throughout the routine season, so one would believe Dallas would encounter difficulty without her. That hasn’t held true, nevertheless; the Wings went 3-2 after Ogunbowale got hurt (consisting of the video game she got hurt in) and were 5-2 in all video games she missed out on.

The introduction of Teaira McCowan has actually definitely assisted matters. The 6’7 center, who Dallas obtained in a trade with Indiana last offseason, has actually ended up being a centerpiece of the group’s offense, and completed the routine season strong as an outcome, balancing 17.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per video game in August en path to a WNBA Player of the Month award.

Meanwhile, guard Marina Mabrey has actually made sure that the Wings still have trusted shot development in their backcourt. In the month of August, Mabrey led Dallas in both scoring (20.9 points per video game) and helps (5.1 helps per video game) while shooting 41.5 percent on 5.9 3-pointers tried per video game. While Mabrey has actually played together with more standard point player in Tyasha Harris and Veronica Burton throughout this stretch, she’s developed herself as the group’s de facto leader no matter who she’s sharing the court with.

How the Wings compare with the Sun

So how do the Wings, in their existing type, compare to their first-round challenger?

One thing is for sure: It’s going to a physical series. The Sun and Wings ranked very first and 2nd, respectively, in offending rebounding rate throughout the routine season. Dallas led the WNBA in complimentary toss rate, with Connecticut not far behind (3rd). With both of these locations essential to each group’s success, it’s safe to state that if either the Wings or Sun win both fights, they’ll remain in an excellent position to take the series.

There are no lack of engaging private matches, either, especially in the frontcourt. McCowan will be taking on ruling Most Valuable Player Jonquel Jones and ruling Most Improved Player Brionna Jones; the previous a rangy, experienced center who likewise controls on the glass and the latter among the league’s most effective low-post scorers. McCowan will have her hands complete with both.

WNBA: MAY 24 Dallas Wings at Connecticut Sun

Keeping Alyssa Thomas out of shift will be a huge consider the Wings winning the series.
Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire through Getty Images

If there’s one Sun gamer the Wings don’t have a clear response for, though, it’s Alyssa Thomas. Arguably Connecticut’s essential gamer, Thomas led the Sun in helps (6.1 per video game) from the power forward position while sustaining the group’s shift video game. According to Synergy Sports, Thomas ranked ninth in the WNBA in overall shift belongings (104) and shot 68.3 percent from the field in shift, while the Wings enabled the second-highest shift frequency (16 percent) of any WNBA group. It ought to go without stating that Dallas need to confine Thomas if it’s going to win the series.

In the backcourt, Dallas might have the series’ finest guard in Mabrey. She leads a Wings group that, even without Ogunbowale, will likely get up more 3-pointers than the Sun, who have actually ranked near the bottom of the WNBA in long-range shot efforts in each of the league’s previous couple of seasons.

Series schedule

Game 1 — Thursday, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPNU, NBA TELEVISION)

Game 2 — Sunday, Aug. 21 at 12 p.m. ET (ABC)

Game 3 (if needed) — Wednesday, Aug. 24 (time and network TBD)

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