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2021 WNBA No. 1 Draft Pick Charli Collier Drops 11 Points in Wings Debut

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 15, 2021

Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (30) and Dallas Wings forward Charli Collier (35) participate in a jump ball during the second quarter of a WBNA basketball game Friday, May 14, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Charli Collier posted an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double in her WNBA debut to help the Dallas Wings earn a season-opening 94-71 road victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday at Staples Center.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft shot 4-of-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. She also added one steal and one block, and the Wings outscored the Sparks by 15 with the ex-Texas star on the floor.

Collier's first WNBA bucket occurred in the first quarter, when she gained positioning on Sparks center Chiney Ogwumike and hit a jumper in the key:

Collier later nailed a bucket from just inside the three-point line:

Her biggest basket occurred in the third quarter, however.

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L.A. went on an 11-3 run to cut a 63-49 lead to 66-60. Wings forward Allisha Gray then missed a layup, but Collier grabbed the offensive board between two Sparks players and was able to muscle her way to a bucket for an eight-point edge:

Collier added five more points afterward.

Gray led all scorers with 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting in addition to her nine rebounds. She also excelled on the defensive end, amassing four steals.

Wings guard Tyesha Harris dished seven assists to guide a fantastic offensive effort that included shooting 53.1 percent from the field. Dallas also knocked down 18-of-22 free throws.

Dallas guard Arike Ogunbowale had an efficient game, scoring 17 points in just 20 minutes. The ex-Notre Dame star and 2018 NCAA tournament heroine was limited due to foul trouble, but her 10 third-quarter points enabled Dallas to take a 70-60 lead into the fourth quarter.

For L.A., forward Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks with 18 points, and her younger sister, Chiney, added 12 more.

The Sparks took a 27-20 lead after the first quarter but went ice cold afterward. Dallas took advantage, outscoring Los Angeles 24-14 in the second quarter, 26-19 in the third and 24-11 in the fourth.

Dallas won despite committing 26 turnovers. The Sparks couldn't take advantage, though, shooting just 35.9 percent from the field and 7-of-27 from three-point range. Dallas also dominated the boards, 45-25.

Dallas now faces a tough test against the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm, who will visit the Wings at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, May 22 at 8 p.m. ET.

The Sparks also have a tough test with the team scheduled to visit the WNBA finalist Las Vegas Aces at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Friday at 10:30 p.m.

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