Despite being .500, Wings shake up roster


By Dorothy J. Gentry

Six games into a young WNBA season, the Wings have already made some surprising roster moves.

Gone are second-year center Breanna Lewis and guard Saniya Chong, and in are Australian center Cayla George and international Spanish player Leticia Romero.

Despite being at the .500 mark on the season and trending upward, coach Fred Williams said the roster moves were necessary.

“We just needed to make some changes,” Williams said. “I think with our bench production, we just wanted to see some other players that were out there. And this type of thing happens across the board with a lot of teams.

“We’ve rarely done that over the years, but I think this year is the year that we have to see some different faces come off the bench.”

Those different faces, George and Romero, can certainly bring added athleticism and fire to an already athletic team.

George, who was originally signed by the Mercury in 2015, brings a versatile game to the Wings, including the ability to play multiple positions on the floor.

She most recently competed in the Sun’s training camp after playing for the Mercury in 2015 and 2017. Overall, she has played in 66 WNBA games, averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest. The 6-foot-4 George set a WNBA record for most defensive rebounds by a bench player with 14 against the Sky last July. She also owns two career double-doubles, seven 10-plus scoring games and three 10-plus rebounding outings in her career.

In 2016, George sat out the WNBA season in preparation for her Olympic debut at the Rio de Janeiro Games. Her Australian side included Wings center Liz Cambage and assistant coach Erin Phillips.

Williams acknowledges that George’s prior playing relationship with Cambage is a key factor in her signing with Dallas.

“That certainly plays a lot into it as far as knowing how to get her (Liz) the ball and with give-and-go plays,” Williams said. “So it makes it more comfortable for the both of them and the team all the way around where we have another post player who knows how to feed inside.

“She has WNBA experience and has been on some winning teams in the league. She’s got good size and good shooting range as a post player.”

Romero, who was originally drafted by the Sun with the 16th pick in 2017, is a young guard with international experience. The 5-foot-8 native of Las Palmas, Spain competed collegiately at Florida State. She played with the Spanish National Team, helping the side win the 2017 European Women’s Basketball Championship.

She also played a big role in helping her country qualify for the Olympic Games in 2016, where the team won a silver medal. Romero was the second youngest player on that roster, which included current and former WNBA players Astou Ndour, Anna Cruz and Marta Xargay.

“As a player who has played internationally in Spain, she’s the kind of player who will get us some excitement with the basketball and help push tempo,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to both of them giving us a lot of help off the bench.”

And how soon will Wings fans get to see the new team additions on the court?

“Hopefully by next week they will play, Williams said. “Maybe by the end of this week in Indiana, but right now we are in the process of having them get here and getting the practice work in.”