The Dallas Wings opened up training camp on Friday, to prepare for the 2020 WNBA season. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 season will look remarkably different. Instead of holding camp in the comfort of their own home in Dallas, the Wings are making preparations inside the WNBA Bubble in Bradenton, Fla.
Despite the disheartening videos of some players hotel stay, Wings’ President and CEO Greg Bibb told reporters, the team has had a great stay so far.
“I think the league and IMG have done a fanatic job,” Bibb said. “From a personal perspective and from the Dallas Wings, we have had a great stay so far. Quarantine is now over. And it was great to hear the ball bouncing on the hardwood floor.”
When the season begins later this month, the Wings will be looking to improve on what was a forgettable 2019 campaign. Last season, they ended the year tied with the New York Liberty for the league’s second-worst record at 10-24, and lost their top two stars (Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith) in a span of 13 months.
Despite the losing season, there were reasons for the Wings to be optimistic for the future.
In her first season, Arike Ogunbowale took the reins as the Wings’ leading scorer averaging 19.1 points on 38.8% shooting from the field. While expressing his disappointment that Ogunbowale did not win ROY nor be named an All-Star, Bibb says the Notre Dame prodigy will use the snubs as motivation in year two.
“No disrespect to Napheesa Collier because she had an unbelievably rookie season herself,” he said. “But in my mind, I think there should have been two. Knowing Arike, she will probably use that a little as motivation in year two. I think the biggest challenge for her this season is finding balance and elevating her game beyond scoring the basketball.”
“Last year out of necessity, she took a lot of shots. I think there are more talents around her this season, and I know we have better shooters this season than last. Balancing out attacking the basket, penetrating, and scoring the basketball with keeping the defense [on their toes] as a distributor because she is going to draw a double-team. She did a little bit of that last season, but you will see more this year.”
The Wings are entering the season with the league’s most intriguing draft class due to the addition of Satou Sabally, Bella Alarie and Tyasha Harris. However, after the first day of camp, Bibb said the additions of Marina Mabrey and Astou Ndour stood out to him the most.
“They [Mabrey and Ndour] fit in very well, to be honest with you,” Bibb said. “In terms of Marina, I am really excited about her. The chemistry with Arike was great. When they were together working on drills today, we could see the chemistry and that comfort level from their Notre Dame days together.”
The Wings will continue their training camp on Saturday as they await the release of their 22-game regular-season schedule next week.
(Photo Credit: AP)