By Dorothy J. Gentry
Photos: Dallas Wings
She’s known as “Flash” and is one of the WNBA’s best defensive players.
She’s a three-time WNBA Champion (2017, 2018, 2020), two-time WNBA All-Star (2019, 2022), two-time WNBA All-Defensive Team selection (2018, 2019), the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and the 2018 WNBA Most Improved Player.
And she’s now a member of the Dallas Wings.
Natasha Howard was acquired by the Wings, along with the playing rights to 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield in a three-team trade involving the New York Liberty and Connecticut Sun. In exchange, the Wings have traded guard Ty Harris to Connecticut and forward Kayla Thornton to New York.
Howard, 31, comes to the Wings from the New York Liberty where she just completed an All-Star season in 2022; starting 35 games and averaging 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
During her 2019 season with the Seattle Storm, the Toledo, Ohio native had a career-year on both ends of the court, posting a high in points (18.1) and rebounds (8.2), earning All-WNBA First Team honors. Defensively, she led the WNBA in steals (74), which was a new single-season franchise high, earning her the nod as the league’s top defensive player.
Howard, who is in her 10th WNBA season, has made playoff appearances in each of her nine seasons, totaling 48 in her career. Howard was drafted fifth overall by the Indiana Fever in 2014 and has also played in Minnesota, Seattle and New York.
“Natasha is a three-time WNBA Champion who joins the Wings organization with an impressive WNBA resume, including both extensive and successful playoff experience,” Wings President & CEO Greg Bibb stated. “On the court we are adding an all-star caliber player who is one of the premier defenders in the game. Off the court we are adding a veteran who has won on the biggest stage in the biggest moments. Rarely can you address as many needs in one transaction as we do with the addition of Natasha. We are excited to have her join our organization.”
Dangerfield, who is entering her fourth season in the WNBA, won the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year Award after averaging 16.2 points per game and nearly four assists for the Minnesota Lynx. In her three-year WNBA career, Dangerfield has appeared in 85 games and averaged nearly nine points and three assists a game.
The Murfreesboro, Tenn. native was drafted in the second round (16th overall) in 2020 out of the University of Connecticut by Minnesota. In her final season as a UCON Husky, Dangerfield earned American Athletic Conference First Team honors, averaging nearly 15 points in 30 games.
“We are excited to obtain the exclusive negotiating rights to Crystal Dangerfield and the prospect of adding her to the Wings roster,” Bibb said. “We look forward to working to sign her to an agreement and having her join the team. She is a player who adds depth and experience to our backcourt and brings the ability to score and distribute the basketball at an elite level.”
The Wings lose Thornton, who spent six seasons with the Wings, and Harris, who was drafted by the Wings in 2020.
The home games for the Dallas Wings are played at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. The Wings, who are entering their eighth season in North Texas, have made the playoffs four of their first seven seasons in Dallas Their tip off the 2023 season on Saturday, May 20 at College Park Center in Arlington.