Despite loss, Wings bench duo of Gray and Harris offers bright spot for season
Allisha Gray and Tyasha Harris shine off bench
Welcome to The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives and projections about the game we love.
Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues and grows. Subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.
Despite a 10-point loss to the Atlanta Dream in their season opener, a couple of Gamecocks shined, giving the Dallas Wings plenty to look forward to in this unconventional season.
The Wings lost to a young Atlanta Dream team, 105-95, behind an offensive clinic put on by Monique Billings with a game high 30 points, and Chennedy Carter who poured in 18 points for her rookie debut.
But it was the combination off the Wings bench of Allisha Gray (henceforth called Goggles Allisha) and her college teammate rookie Tyasha Harris, that showed sparks and promises of good things to come for the Wings.
The duo from South Carolina – teammates on the 2016-17 Gamecock championship team – came off the bench in the first half and sparked several runs including one in the first quarter that brought the Wings back from a 9-16 deficit and resulted in a 28-28 tie.
Gray and Harris combined for 32 of the team’s total 95 points. Harris clearly has a knack for finding Gray; she chipped in four assists - 3 of which went to Gray who - naturally - scored off each one. Gray also had 3 steals, 2 assists and 3 rebounds.
Head Coach Brian Agler liked what he saw from them, specifically Gray, the 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Year.
“Ty played really well, especially in the first half. Allisha gave us some really good minutes,” he said. “We had a nice little run there in the first half, second quarter so that was a good thing.
“Allisha for the most part played well. She was very solid. She was probably the most consistent player we had today.”
Agler applauded Harris basketball IQ but added there’s plenty of room for her to grow.
“I thought she was aggressive. Ty is a very smart player. She’s a good competitor and she is going to be a really good player in this League,” Agler said.
“But there are some things you have to learn at the pro level that everybody has to go through - all rookies have to go through - but we’re really excited about Ty and how she’s coming along as a player and a quality person,” Agler said. “She’s a good competitor and the future is bright for her.”
Overall Agler said the team lost it’s season opener for a variety of reasons.
“They (Atlanta) were more aggressive, especially getting to the rim early in the game. We finally got that way at some point, but I wasn’t happy with how we settled for shots a lot on the perimeter. Defensively we were not active enough.”
It’s only one game but every game counts in this shortened, Covid-influenced seaason.
The Harris-to-Gray connection was on display in game one and it's as natural as cookies and milk. It’s a connection the Wings will be dialing up for the foreseeable future.