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WNBA: Improved Wings to get test from champion Storm

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The Dallas Wings, fresh off a season-opening victory, will have some momentum Saturday night when they host the reigning WNBA champion Seattle Storm.

Dallas has a young team led by 6-5 rookie center Charli Collier, the No. 1 overall selection in this year’s draft, who had 11 points and 10 rebounds in last week’s season-opening 94-71 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks.

The Wings also had two more of the top five picks in this year’s draft: Awak Kuier, who didn’t play in the opener; and Chelsea Dungee, who scored just three points in two minutes. Satou Sabally, the second overall selection in last year’s draft, is still playing overseas.

Fortunately for the Wings, they have 2017 rookie of the year Allisha Gray, who had 23 points, while Arike Ogunbowale had 17. Ogunbowale was a national champion at Notre Dame in 2018, made the WNBA’s All-Rookie team in 2019 and was the league’s scoring champion last year at 22.8 points per game.

Along with those players, the Wings also have a new coach this year in Vickie Johnson, who had a 13-year career as a WNBA player.

“When she talks, you listen,” Gray said of Johnson. “She knows what she’s talking about. She’s been in our shoes.”

Seattle (2-1) is coming off a 90-78 road victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday night. Seattle scored more points in the fourth quarter (37) than it did in the entire first half (33) while storming back from a 19-point deficit. Storm guard Jewell Loyd scored 23 points.

The Storm’s start this season hasn’t been perfect, as they were rocked by the Las Vegas Aces on Tuesday, when veteran star Sue Bird went scoreless for the first time since 2014.

Reigning WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart said she is not worried.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time and patience,” Stewart said.

Bird showed Thursday that both time and patience can have their reward, rebounding from her 0-for-2 outing with 21 points against the Lynx on 8-for-12 shooting, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range.

–Field Level Media

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