Sabally’s 1st triple-double leads to Wings win, more MVP buzz

Alexa Philippou, ESPNJul 29, 2023, 12:23 AM ET

CloseCovers women’s college basketball and the WNBA
Previously covered UConn and the WNBA Connecticut Sun for the Hartford Courant
Stanford graduate and Baltimore native with further experience at the Dallas Morning News, Seattle Times and Cincinnati Enquirer

The Dallas Wings’ Satou Sabally recorded her first triple-double Friday night in a 90-62 win over the visiting Washington Mystics — another highlight to a season that has catapulted her star status in the WNBA.

“[We’ve] got to have her. We always talk about the big three [rounded out by Arike Ogunbowale and Natasha Howard], and she’s a huge part of that,” Wings coach Latricia Trammell said following Sabally’s 14-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist performance. “We better start talking, putting her name in the MVP talk and a lot of other categories, because she’s getting it done.”

Sabally is the second player in Wings history to record a triple-double. Deanna Nolan notched one in 2005 when the franchise was in Detroit as the Shock.

“It means a lot to me,” Sabally said. “It’s a really humbling experience. They drafted me in COVID years, and it was just a lot going on, so to be able to do that in a Wings uniform just really means everything to me.”

WNBA players have tallied six triple-doubles this season, with Alyssa Thomas securing three and Courtney Williams and Sabrina Ionescu each chipping in one.

Sabally, the 2020 No. 2 overall pick out of Oregon who hails from Germany, is averaging 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game on 43.3% shooting (33.6% from 3), all career bests. She earned her second All-Star nod this season.

After dealing with injuries earlier in her career — this is her first fully healthy season after she appeared in 11 regular-season contests in 2022 — Sabally said she focused this offseason on getting into a great place mentally and physically, helping her reach new heights.

“There’s so much that always happens or comes into your way, and you’ve just got to figure it out. You have to adjust, and when things go bad, it is just really a sign of trying to make changes in your own life, and that’s what I did,” Sabally said. “I really locked in because basketball is so important to me and I love it and handled it like a priority. So I’m happy that the rewards are coming. But we’re not done yet, so I’m excited for the rest of the season.”

The 6-foot-4 Sabally is widely considered a candidate for most improved player but could get recognition on some MVP ballots. Sabally’s stellar play has launched the Wings (14-10) — who last year won the franchise’s first playoff game since 2009 — into the top four of the WNBA standings. They have won eight of their past 10 games and own the fourth-best net rating in the league. If the Wings continue their current pace, they are on track to end the regular season above .500 for the first time since the franchise relocated to Dallas.

“It’s just been a long journey from my rookie year to this being my fourth year, how we’ve grown, how we’ve progressed,” Sabally said. “It’s really nice to see and that’s where the patient side comes in too because we still have bricks to add on to our game and to our game plan and the season, so just looking forward to that.”

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