WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Dallas Wings’ late-season collapse hit a new low Sunday. Head coach Fred Williams and chief executive officer Greg Bibb were seen screaming at each other outside the locker room following the team’s 93-80 loss to the Mystics, its eighth loss in a row. Shortly after, the Wings announced that Williams had been fired, and assistant coach Taj McWilliams-Franklin would serve as interim.
“Following today’s game, I made the decision to change direction in regards to our head coaching position,” Bibb said in a release on Sunday. “I felt this move was necessary. The season has not met our expectations. I have asked Taj to serve as our interim head coach and I have the upmost confidence that she and our staff will do everything possible to put us in the best position to win. I wish Fred the best moving forward. Our focus remains on qualifying for the playoffs and ultimately competing for a WNBA championship.”
Though advised against, Williams spoke to media after the game before he was relieved of his duties.
“Typical, when you’re in a drought,” Williams told media when asked about what happened postgame. “You have some emotional things going. Just have to sometimes let things go and regroup and just find a way to get a ‘W.’ I think we’ve put a destination on what we want to do, and we’ve got a few more games to play and the main thing is getting into the tournament.”
The Wings haven’t won a game since July 19 despite starting with a 14-9 record behind the star power of Liz Cambage, the league’s leading scorer, and Skylar Diggins-Smith, one of the league’s best guards. They are now just a game ahead of the Las Vegas Aces for the eighth and final playoff spot. (The Aces, if you’ll recall, forfeited a game against the Mystics last week after travel issues arriving in D.C.).
This was supposed to be the team’s breakout season with Cambage’s return to the WNBA after a four-year hiatus which she spent playing basketball abroad in China and Australia. Williams was particularly instrumental in Cambage’s return to the Wings.
“I think he really understands me and I think he realizes that there’s more to my life than just basketball,” Cambage told SB Nation after the game. “I have a lot of other interests and things that I work on away from the court and he really showed me a lot of support and love since I left in 2013 and he got the job in 2014.
“He’s been emailing me and texting me no matter if I’ve been playing for Australia or playing in China or the Olympics, he’s always been there supporting me and made me feel comfortable to come back to Dallas.”
But the Wings have faltered with both Cambage and Diggins-Smith missing two separate games each during the drought. With Cambage sitting due to a neck injury, Dallas trailed by as many as 24 points Sunday. A late-game push brought the team within six points in the fourth quarter, but Washington’s shooting proved too much.