Death, taxes, and the Dallas Wings with a plethora of draft picks. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
As has been the case the past couple of years, the Wings went into the WNBA Draft on Monday night with multiple first-round choices. Already armed with the third, fifth, and 11th selections in the first round, in part a result of a trade for Chicago Sky guard Diamond DeShields, the Wings then pulled off a surprising mid-draft trade.
Having selected Villanova guard Maddy Siegrest with the third choice, Dallas then traded with the Washington Mystics to acquire the fourth pick, which they used to take Iowa State center Stephanie Soares.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been part of an in-draft process trade, but when you have an opportunity to add a player of the caliber of Stephanie Soares, you do what it takes,” said Greg Bibb, the Wings’ president and CEO.
Dallas liked Soares so much it gave up a second-round pick in 2024 and a first-rounder in 2025 in the trade. Here’s the catch. Although the 6-foot-6 Soares was a top player in her only year with the Cyclones, averaging 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 13 games before tearing her ACL, she probably won’t play this season.
That begs the question: if the Wings are in a win-now mode, why use a high pick and give up so much draft capital on a player who won’t be immediately available?
“There just aren’t that many 6-foot-6-inch post players who can run the floor and shoot the ball like Stephanie,” Bibb said. “And the other thing that jumped off the film for me is how good her feet were in small spaces and her ability to finish with either hand. You just don’t get that kind of complete package that often in post players.”
Even as they went into the offseason preaching defense under new coach Latricia Trammell, the Wings loaded up on shooters and offensive-minded players in the first round. There was much speculation Dallas would select Haley Jones with the third pick, and the Stanford guard was still on the board when its turn came up. Instead, the Wings went with the 6-foot-1 Siegrist, who led the nation in scoring with 29 points per game, averaged 9.2 rebounds, and was named the Big East Player of the Year and a first-team All-American.
“She can score the basketball, but she’s more than an offensive player,” Bibb said. “I think her defensive ability is underrated. She has great size and length. I think she can play a multitude of positions.”
Jones was still there at No. 5, but the Wings selected UConn forward Lou Lopez-Senechal, who played her first four seasons at Fairfield. In her one season with the Huskies, Lopez-Senechal averaged 15.5 points and shot 44 percent from deep. She is seen as a replacement for Marina Mabrey, but she also is dealing with a knee injury that will affect her immediate availability. (Jones went sixth, to the Atlanta Dream.)
“She’s just pure in terms of her ability to shoot the basketball,” Bibb said of Lopez-Senechal. “I love to watch her play and she is wise beyond her years.”
The 11th pick in the draft, 6-foot guard Abby Meyers spent her first three seasons at Princeton and was the 2022 Ivy League Player of the Year. In her one season at Maryland, she averaged 14.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game and was a second-team all-conference selection.
So why the emphasis on shooting? “We talked a lot in the offseason about priorities and we talked about defense and experience, particularly championship-winning experience, and we addressed those needs with Natasha Howard, Crystal Dangerfield, and Diamond DeShields,” Bibb said of the team’s newest veteran acquisitions. “Coming into the draft, the last really unchecked box for us was adding shooting.”
But Bibb made it clear that defense will be the name of the game in Dallas.“If you’re going to be a member of the Dallas Wings you’re going to have to play defense or you’re going to have a hard time getting on the floor,” he said. “Make no mistake. We think they [the draft picks] are all more than capable defenders, and I think we have the staff led by our head coach to take an average defender and make them a good defender, take a good defender and make them a great defender.”
In the second round with the 19th pick, the Wings selected Ashley Joens, Soares’ teammate at Iowa State. The 6-foot-1 forward averaged more than 20 points per game in each of her last four seasons, including 21.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists this year.
With its final selection, at No. 31 in the third round, Dallas took Paige Robinson, a 5-foot-10 guard from Illinois State who in her one season averaged 18.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.
It’s unlikely that all six draft choices will make the roster. A team can carry 12 players during the season, 15 during training camp. The Wings already have 11 players under contract. It will be especially tight at guard, where the Wings look ready to rock with Arike Ogunbowale, new faces DeShields and Dangerfield, and second-year player Veronica Burton eating the bulk of the minutes. The margins could be decided based on who plays the best defense.
“Coach Trammell, that’s her calling card—her defense acumen,” Bibb said. “That will be a Day 1 set-the-tone priority. We are here to play defense and win basketball games, and I think a lot of what we will do will start on the defensive side.”
The ultimate goal this season is to play into August and beyond, to win a playoff series and maybe more. The draft night transactions were another major step in that direction.