Dallas Wings sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale made a name for herself back in college at Notre Dame. After hitting a couple of clutch shots in the 2018 Final Four against the University of Connecticut and then in the National Championship against Mississippi State University.
When she entered the WNBA last season, she put the league on notice so much, so it made the Dallas Wings more willing to move on from All-star guard Skylar Diggins this past off-season. Ogunbowale finished second to Napheesa Collier in the 2019 Rookie of the Year race and, along the way, drew a lot of comparison to two-time WNBA Champion Cappie Pondexter.
After the Seattle Storm’s shootaround practice on Friday morning, Sue Bird and Sami Whitcomb spoke on Ogunbowale’s jump from year one to year two and who’s game does her game reminds them of.
“Actually, I think Cappie Pondexter seems to be a name that is coming up a lot. And I think Cappie was one of the first players to kind of have that game, she was both explosive, but could shoot. She could take you off the dribble, but she also made the right play at the right time and would shook up her teammates as well. We also seen that comparison with Chennedy Carter and I think it is similar for Arike,” said Bird.
“Arike is a scorer, she is looking to score and I think the jump from season one to season two. Season one as a rookie, you generally catch people of guard and by surprised a little bit. You also, think is that who this player really is, and I think in year two she is really showing that is who I am. I am a player that can go out and score 20 points easily, but she is still young and I’m sure something that she is going to learn on the way and get better and better.”
“The team that she [Arike Ogunbowale] has around her, the players around her allows her more opportunities play within the system, and get looks that way. I think she had to do a lot of the ball-handling and creating last year, which you are still seeing from her this year. But I think it has freed her up a little bit, which is probably nice for her. So, yeah, but see better decision making, and she is still fantastic in the open court, said Sami Whitcomb.
” She is still taking big shots and knocking them down, but I see you will see better growth probably in that area. She does remind me of Cappie Pondexter as well. She has the ball handle, has the swag, and that mid range pull, and she can finish well at the basket, and she is really good in the open court. Like Cappie was and she can shoot. Kind of the whole package their are some similarities in the way they move and their handles.”
Pondexter agrees, and this past season, she voiced that. “There hasn’t been one explosive guard like me, but it is safe to say Arike Ogunbowale has it,” according to Drew Ivery.
Last season, Wings coach Brian Agler shared that Ogunbowale is a great competitor like Pondexter was during her career.
“Arike played very well tonight, battled hard, competed. She’s a great competitor like Cappie [Pondexter],” said Agler.
The Seattle Storm and Dallas Wings face off tonight at 8 pm EST on NBATV.