The Dallas Wings topped the New York Liberty 76-69 in their first preseason game of 2018 earlier this week. Rookie Azura Stevens poured in 19 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes of play.
The following day, the Wings fell to the Connecticut Sun 79-58. Stevens went 0-6 from the field clocking in just under 20 minutes in the game.
You see the potential. Stevens is pro-ready and capable of making a big-time impact immediately for the Wings. The 6-foot-6 center rattled 2018 WNBA Draft preparations with her unexpected announcement to forego her senior season at Connecticut and declare. Many predicted Stevens as a top two or three pick with her size, mobility and versatility, but she ended up at No. 6, a pleasant surprise for the Wings.
Certainly a shock to the Dallas front office, but Stevens is a player on which they could not pass. I can only imagine that draft room when they made that pick. She brings the size, versatility and presence the Wings so desperately needed. But Stevens isn't the only one doing so.
The Wings made their first big move months ago with the signing of Liz Cambage. The 6-foot-8, Austrialian is one of the top international centers in the world. In 2011, she was drafted by Tulsa (when the Wings were the Shock) as the No. 2 overall draft pick.
She has been absent from the league for four years and killing it overseas in the WNBL. This past season, Cambage averaged 23 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
Cambage saw limited action versus the Liberty, likely due to her overseas commitments. Against the Sun, she tallied 11 points and nine rebounds in 17 minutes.
After finishing the 2017 season below .500 at 16-18, you can see the potential within the roster with Kaela Davis, a healthy Skylar Diggins-Smith coming off a breakout 2017 season, the signing of Cambage and the selection of Stevens, not to mention the return of 2017 Rookie of the Year, Allisha Gray.
With added height and depth on the bench, the Wings will try to turn that potential into something tangible and a run far deeper than the first round of the playoffs.
The Wings open the regular reason on the road versus the Phoenix Mercury May 18.