Top-pick Collier makes her debut, Wings beat new-look Sparks

Los Angeles Sparks forward Chiney Ogwumike (13) controls the ball against Dallas Wings forward Kayla Thornton (6) and forward Charli Collier, right, during the first quarter of a WBNA basketball game Friday, May 14, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Ashley Landis/AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Allisha Gray scored 23 points, No. 1 overall pick Charli Collier had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Dallas beat the new-look Los Angeles Sparks 94-71 on Friday night for coach Vickie Johnson’s first victory with the Wings.

Collier, a rookie from Texas, was 4 of 6 from the field in her debut and fellow top-five pick Chelsea Dungee played the final two minutes for the Wings. Awak Kuier, the No. 2 selection in Dallas’ busy draft, did not play.

Arike Ogunbowale added 17 points, Marina Mabrey had 11 and Isabelle Harrison 10 for Dallas, which shot 53.1% from the field. Kayla Thornton grabbed 11 rebounds.

Dallas took control during a 24-14 second quarter, and led 44-41 at the break behind 15 points from Gray. Ogunbowale scored 10 points in the third quarter to help build a 70-60 lead.

Los Angeles did not have Candace Parker, a former league MVP, on its roster for the first time since 2007. Parker, another No. 1 overall pick, headed home to Chicago in the offseason after playing her entire 13-year career in Los Angeles.

Nneka Ogwumike scored 18 points and Chiney Ogwumike added 12 for Los Angeles. Kristi Toliver scored 11 points and moved into 16th place for WNBA career assists. Nia Coffey added 10 points.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.