Longhorns in the WNBA: Atkins thrives, McCarty and McGee-Stafford struggle with Wings

Stephen Wagner

As we edge closer to the WNBA midseason mark and All-Star Weekend, teams are starting to take form. 

While the Washington Mystics and Ariel Atkins lie just a half-game behind the first-place Las Vegas Aces, Imani McGee-Stafford and Brooke McCarty-Williams have struggled on a Dallas team with the second-worst record in the league.

Here’s a rundown of the three former Longhorns in the WNBA:

Ariel Atkins

The Washington Mystics are a train that won’t slow down.

Washington is 5-2 in their last seven games and sit only behind the All-Star loaded Aces. Former Longhorn Atkins, now in her second season with the Mystics, played a pivotal role during the win streak, averaging 15.4 points per game. 

Washington, emerging as a competitor in a four-way race for first place, will rely on Atkins to continue to be a key scorer alongside veteran superstar Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver.

Brooke McCarty-Williams

The rebuilding Dallas Wings have matched their expectations through the first quarter of the season.

On May 16, when Dallas committed to a rebuild by trading away All-Star starter Liz Cambage to the league-leading Aces before the season began, it was understood the trade would generate opportunities for younger players trying to prove themselves in the WNBA. One of these players was Brooke McCarty-Williams. 

After spending a season with Peli-Karhut of the Finnish Korisliiga, McCarty-Williams was given her opportunity when head coach Brian Agler, the same coach who cut McCarty-Williams from the Sparks in training camp of 2018, had enough faith to sign the undrafted Longhorn for the 2019 season.

However, despite receiving generous minutes early on, McCarty-Williams wasn’t able to produce. 

McCarty-Williams has averaged more than 20 minutes per game over the Wings’ nine losses so far this season, and just more than ten in the Wings’ victories. Still, the season is young and McCarty-Williams has time to turn it around.

Imani McGee-Stafford

Completing the trio of former Longhorn teammates stands the 6-foot-7 Imani McGee-Stafford, now in her fourth season in the WNBA and first with the Dallas Wings.

After bouncing around the league through her first four years, McGee-Stafford has churned out a handful of impressive performances for Dallas through the first quarter of the season.

Through the first three seasons of her career, McGee-Stafford has done little more than be an inconsistent backup off of the bench. In Dallas, the fourth-year center has transcended expectations, but receiving inconsistent minutes on a game-by-game basis has limited McGee-Stafford to scoring double digits in only two games.