The Dallas Wings’ lackluster first half of the 2022 WNBA season continued with a 97-89 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks, and as they tread water in the middle of the league standings, frustrations surrounding both the team’s play and process are mounting.
It’s not uncommon, of course, for things to boil over when a team is struggling. The Wings started the season strong, topping out at 5-2 in late May, and whichever questions that may have surrounded the team prior to the season seemed to be shelved for the time being.
Now losers of four of their last five games, the Wings are once again faced with those questions, and they’re louder than ever. Dallas has been outscored by 7.1 points per 100 possessions during that span (only the Indiana Fever have been worse) and has secured just 45.9 percent of available rebounds, the lowest in the WNBA.
The Wings’ second-leading per-game rebounder, center Isabelle Harrison (5.5 rebounds per game), took to Twitter after the team’s loss to the Sparks, seemingly expressing her frustration with head coach Vickie Johnson’s rotations. Harrison, who started the game but played just nine minutes, quote tweeted a user who asked why Johnson kept subbing her out of the game, saying “when you find out, lemme know:”
Needless to say, this isn’t an issue the Wings would particularly like to see come to surface. Beyond the individual irritation of Wings players, it shows that Johnson and her coaching staff have yet to fully nail down what was perhaps the biggest area of ambiguity entering the season: the team’s logjam in the frontcourt. 2021 No. 1 overall draft pick Charli Collier has all but disappeared from the Wings’ rotation, while Teaira McCowan, who Dallas acquired via trade last offseason, has only recently found herself consistent playing time — sometimes at Harrison’s expense.
Don’t forget about Satou Sabally, either. The talented, versatile forward returned against the Sparks after missing seven games with a bone bruise in her knee, and while she can play several positions effectively, other Wings will still likely see their minutes take a hit when Sabally is fully reintegrated into the team’s lineup.
Regardless of how Johnson and her coaching staff choose to handle the situation, it’s clear that the Wings continue to lack an established hierarchy in their frontcourt, and it’s causing the team problems. Dallas will enter the 2022 All-Star break with a record below .500, and adjustments need to be made for the second half of the season if the team is to finish strong — even if it means Johnson making the tough decision to tighten the Wings’ rotation.