The Dallas Wings will start their highly-anticipated 2022 season without two potential frontcourt starters , German- Gambian Satou Sabally and Teaira McCowan.
Sabally, a 2021 All-Star, and recent acquisition McCowan are finishing their overseas seasons in Turkey and will not return to the United States until those campaigns are complete.
Despite missing two major pieces to start the season, coach Vickie Johnson is not putting pressure on any one particular player to fill their roles. She said it needs to be a group effort.
“Everyone (has to step up) to be honest with you,” Johnson said. “We need everyone. It’s a team. That’s why we build a 12-man roster.”
The Turkish basketball league is in the midst of its playoff semifinals. Sabally plays for top-ranked Fenerbahçe while McCowan plays for third-seeded Ormanspor. The semifinals are a best-of-five series, as is the finals. Fenerbahçe is up 2-0 in its semifinal series, while Ormanspor is down 0-2.
The Wings expect the players to return to Dallas in the middle of May.
After Saturday’s opener, the Wings are off until May 13, starting a stretch of five games in nine days. That condensed schedule to begin the year is another reason why Johnson is not putting the burden on one player.
“If I put that on one person’s shoulder, there’s no way they can survive,” Johnson said. “There’s no way. I will refuse to do that. I expect the team to step up as a whole to do what we have to do offensively and defensively to get the job done.”
The team does have the depth to withstand some of the production lost to the McCowan’s and Sabally’s absences.
Sabally is averaging 15.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while playing some of her best basketball this year. She nearly matched her season-best point total in a semifinal game Tuesday with 25 points.