Dream focused on pace, ball security vs. reeling Wings

While Atlanta Dream coach Tanisha Wright wants her team to push the pace on offense, ball security remains a concern entering Friday night’s road game against the Dallas Wings at Arlington, Texas.

The Dream (7-11) have committed at least 15 turnovers in three straight games, although they still remain one of the better teams at protecting the ball with 12.4 turnovers per game, third best in the league.

Wright’s squad tallied a season-high 18 turnovers in Tuesday’s 85-77 home loss to the Chicago Sky. It was Atlanta’s second straight setback and its ninth in 12 games following a 4-2 start.

“We have to do a better job understanding that we want to play fast … but with that, we still need to take care of the ball,” Wright said. “Those are opportunities and shots on goal that we’re not getting.”

The Dream’s recent turnover troubles have added a new challenge to an offense that has struggled to score this season. Atlanta’s 76 points per game and 40.4 field-goal percentage each rank last in the WNBA entering Thursday’s action.

All-Star guard Allisha Gray leads the Dream with 15.8 points per game. She scored 21 in Atlanta’s 83-78 home win over Dallas on May 21 in the teams’ first meeting this season.

A porous Wings defense allows a league-high 88.9 points per game. Dallas surrendered a season-high 104 points in an eight-point home loss on Wednesday to the Phoenix Mercury, the Wings’ 14th defeat in their last 15 games.

Exactly halfway through its 40-game regular season slate, Dallas (4-16) has drastically regressed after posting a 22-win campaign last year.

The Wings have played the entire season so far without 2023 All-Star Satou Sabally because of a shoulder injury. Natasha Howard missed 12 games earlier this year with a broken foot, but she delivered a career-high 36 points with 11 rebounds on Wednesday.

Her breakout performance complemented a 26-point game from Arike Ogunbowale, who has scored at least 20 points in all but two of her 19 games this season and averages 23.8 per contest.

Howard and Ogunbowale were both key contributors to Dallas’s run to the semifinals last season, and coach Latricia Trammell appreciates their leadership amid this year’s trying campaign.

“They bring that championship mentality anytime we step on the floor,” Trammell said. “I don’t expect anything less from them.”

–Field Level Media