Wings bolster franchise with 3 of top 7 picks in WNBA draft

The Dallas Wings had been focused on the 2020 WNBA draft for about two years, and went into the night with three of the top seven picks.

“I think when we look back five or 10 years from now, we’re going to realize how important tonight was in terms of the amount of talent that we added to what I consider to be a very good, already existing talented young group of players,” Greg Bibb, the team’s president and CEO said Friday night.

Oregon 6-foot-4 forward Satou Sabally, one of three juniors to forego their last year of college eligibility for the draft, was picked by the Wings second overall. Her Ducks teammate Sabrina Ionescu was picked No. 1 by the New York Liberty.

Dallas selected Princeton guard and three-time Ivy League player of the year Bella Alarie fifth overall. That was two picks before selecting 5-10 point guard Tyasha Harris from South Carolina, which was the No. 1 team in the final Associated Press Top 25 this season, just ahead of Oregon.

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The Wings got 6-3 power forward Luisa Geiselsoder, a 20-year-old teammate of Sabally’s on the German national team, with the 21st overall pick in the second round.

“All versatile players, all the kind of modern-era basketball players in terms of their ability to extend their range at all points on the court,” Bibb said. “And all are really good fantastic human beings as well. It’s been a tremendous night for the Wings organization.”

The Wings acquired the fifth and seventh overall picks in this draft when they traded Skylar Diggins-Smith to Phoenix earlier this year. They got first- and second-round picks from Las Vegas after trading Liz Cambage last May.

With Cambage gone and Diggins missing last season after giving birth to a son, the Wings were 10-24, their fewest wins since 2012.

Sabally was part of three consecutive 30-win seasons at Oregon, including a trip to the Final Four last year. The Pac-12 champion Ducks had three of the top eight drafted players, a trio that went 31-2 in their final season together which ended prematurely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It really reminds me of Oregon and starting a program from new, setting a new culture. … I’m really excited to play with young players,” Sabally said about joining the Wings. “I feel like we can really build something great.”

Alarie, the Ivy League’s top scorer with 17.5 points a game, was a first-round pick like her father, Mark, the 18th overall pick in the NBA draft by Denver out of Duke in 1986.

Harris will be reunited with former South Carolina teammates Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray. They were all part of the Gamecocks’ 2017 national championship with coach Dawn Staley, which they won in Dallas.

“They won a national championship together, so that means they’re all pretty good basketball players,” Bibb said.

Davis and Gray were juniors for South Carolina’s championship run before bypassing their senior seasons and becoming top-10 picks by the Wings in 2017. Harris started 27 games as a freshman that season.

“I’ll get accustomed really well. They can teach me the ropes and stuff,” Harris said.

“What really excited us about (Harris) was, I think she’s one of the best floor generals coming out of college basketball, one of the best ball distributors,” Bibb said. “And she spent four years playing for and directly under a head coach who’s one of the best point guards arguably ever who played the game.”

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