Veronica Burton familiar with Wintrust Arena, but only some good memories.
In his four years at Northwestern, Burton's Wildcats never beat DePaul on his home court. The first time he left Wintrust with a win came in his rookie season. It was also her first start in the WNBA.
He had eight points, nine assists and three steals in the Dallas Wings' 84-78 victory last August. Now in his second year, Burton's role has changed. He was no longer an option at point guard—he was the Wings starter.
“He has a great voice and is a great leader,” coach Wings Latricia Trammell said. “He can make his team-mates commit fouls. One of the things I noticed was his defense when I first arrived.”
Trammell has earned a reputation as one of the best defensive minds in the WNBA. Burton has earned his own defensive fame. The All-American is a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association in 2022.
Burton is working to develop into the same type of player a pro is. In his rookie season, he averaged 2.6 points, 1.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 15.2 minutes. He was in the featured guard rotation Allisha Grey, Marina Macrey and two time All-Star Arike Ogunbowale. With Gray moved to the Atlanta Dream in a trade and Mabrey to Sky in a signature trade, room has opened up for Burton's initial rotation on the Wings.
“It's a blessing to be in this position,” said Burton. “Having the opportunity to make an impact, whatever role it is, I'm looking forward to it. I have that starting role now, but I take it game by game. It's good to know my teammates and coaches trust me in that position.”
Burton scored four points and two assists in the Wings' season opener. He had nine points and four assists in their second game.
In his sophomore season, Burton worked on his speed and improved his shooting percentage. He shot 32.9% from the field and 27.9% from three-point range last season.
“Knocking down shots, being consistent in that area is a huge area of growth,” said Burton, who had two points and six assists Sunday.
Former Guardian of the Sky DeShield diamonds did not travel with the Wings to Chicago after the team announced this month that he would be out for a long time with a knee injury.
The Wings got it in a trade with the Phoenix Mercury this offseason.
“He hated he wasn't here,” Trammell said. “He hates it when he can't play and help his team. At home, he provided their voice in rehearsal sessions and films. He will be calm in the storm.”
Morgan Bertch (ankle) and Rebekah Gardner (legs) out, but that's all coaches/general managers James Wade will share. He had no time limit for their return.
The two fell in Sky's loss to the Washington Mystics on Friday, Bertsch in the second quarter and Gardner in the dying seconds. The roster drops to nine available players, making the team eligible for the emergency difficulty exception. Exceptions, which must be approved by the league, can be used when a team has less than 10 players available.
“I've requested a difficulty exception,” Wade said. “We'll see. There are a few players on the market, but a lot of teams are in trouble for us. We'll find out.”