Since moving to Arlington in 2016, the Dallas Wings have been one of the WNBA’s top performing teams on offense. The 2018 team has brought it to another level with the addition of Australian center Liz Cambage and the play of All-WNBA guard Skylar Diggins-Smith.
To put it in perspective, the Wings have scored at least 100 points in five of the first 22 games in 2018. The previous franchise record for 100-point games in a season was two. At the All-Star break, the team leads the league in scoring with 87.9 points per game while averaging 96.8 in an eight-game stretch over the month of July.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons and a lot of players that have a year or two more experience now,” Diggins-Smith said. “We have a unit that has stayed together for a couple years, then throwing Liz in there opens a lot more opportunities.”
Cheering on the youngest team in the league over the past two years has had its frustrations for Wings fans, but the chemistry building has paid off recently along with the addition of Cambage and rookie Azura Stevens.
“I think every team in every season brings a new identity,” Stevens said. “Obviously with Liz coming, we knew there would be more focus on the paint. We’ve learned how to pass it in to her, she knows how to pass it back. It’s all coming together.
“In the beginning of the season we kept forcing the ball inside. Then there was a stretch where we were just shooting, and now we’re kind of putting it all together. We’ve been able to adjust.”
Stevens has provided a spark off the bench lately for the Wings. In her first 12 games, the forward from UCONN averaged 6 points per game. In her previous 13, she has scored 11 points per game including a career high 26 on July 5th versus Indiana.
But on any given night for the fans at the College Park Center, it has been the Skylar and Liz show. The All-Star duo is the second highest scoring pair of teammates in the league, trailing Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi and Britany Griner by only 0.3 points per game.
Cambage showed her dominance on the court in a July 17th showdown with the New York Liberty. Her 53-point performance rewrote the league history books and showed what kind of impact she could have in the WNBA. She had scored 10 points more than the entire Liberty starting five.
“I’ve always said she is the most dominant player in the league,” Diggins-Smith said. “I’m just glad she is on my team.”
The two often have high praise for each other. Diggins-Smith sees her new teammate as more than just a low-post bruiser.
“Liz does a great job of scoring from all three tiers,” she said. “From her three-point scoring, to her mid-range and face up, to her back to the basket game. Not a lot of players can score from all three tiers like that.”
In her record setting 53-point game, Cambage hit a career high four three-pointers and shot a super-efficient 15 of 16 from the free throw line. For Cambage, having a teammate like Diggins-Smith pushes her to open new aspects of her already versatile game.
“Skylar is one of the hardest working teammates I’ve ever had,” Cambage said. “She’s the best point guard in the league. Her drive and her passion on the court, it makes you want to be better, play better, and be the best you can be.”
Even the rookie Stevens recognizes the special chemistry between Cambage, Diggins-Smith, and the rest of the Wings high flying offense.
“I think Skylar is an elite scorer because she puts so much work into her craft,” Stevens said. “She brings so much attention to herself on the court, but she knows when to pass and when to distribute. That makes her so effective.”
Diggins-Smith is one of two players, along with Taurasi, to rank in the top 10 of league scoring and assists this season.
“It speaks to her leadership and her style of play,” Stevens added. “With the attention that she brings, she knows how to faucet that to other people. Then her teammates break records.”
When the Wings are flying right, it’s hard to see any defense slowing them down.
“You try to shut me down, and Skylar steps up,” Cambage said. “You try to shut Skylar down, and Azura will go off or Allisha Gray will come to life. We’ve got women that are ready for anything. We don’t have benchwarmers- everyone is going to get minutes and is ready for that. That’s the most important thing about this team.”