Arike Ogunbowale’s huge 3, career-high 39 points carry Wings to OT win

9:05 PM ET


CloseMechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

Dallas guard Arike Ogunbowale is known for big shots, and she hit another one Sunday while also notching 39 points, her career high and the most anyone has scored this season in the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Florida.

Ogunbowale’s 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left sent the game to overtime, and the Wings then beat the Washington Mystics 101-94.

“To win in this league, you’ve gotta have playmakers,” Dallas coach Brian Agler said. “Arike obviously is a special player that way.”

Ogunbowale, a second-year pro out of Notre Dame, hit last-second shots in both the 2018 national semifinals and the championship game her junior year to secure an NCAA title for the Irish. As a rookie last year, she averaged 19.1 points per game, third in the league and the most among rookies. This year, she’s the WNBA’s leading scorer at 22.2 PPG. Her college career high was 34, and the most she previously had scored in the WNBA was 35.

The previous high this season in the WNBA bubble was 35, which four players had achieved.

Ogunbowale was 12-of-24 from the field Sunday, making 4 of 6 3-pointers and 11 of 12 free throws. She also had four assists and three rebounds.

Six of the eight playoff spots are already claimed. The Wings are in eighth place, the last playoff slot, as the WNBA regular season enters its final week. Dallas entered Sunday’s game at 6-12, while the Mystics were 5-12. So the victory helped give the Wings a little more cushion.

Dallas did not make the playoffs last season.

Ogunbowale said she was thinking about how crucial a game this was, especially with the Mystics so close to the Wings in the standings. She said as cool as she might look on the court, “Trust me, I’m stressed, but I hide it pretty well. I need to not show it, be a leader and go out there with confidence and poise.”

On Friday night, another former Notre Dame player, Seattle’s Jewell Loyd, made one of the biggest shots of the season, hitting a 3-pointer with .8 seconds left to lead the Storm past Los Angeles 90-89.

“Watching that, I was really excited to play the game today,” Ogunbowale said. “I love seeing plays like that, and I love being in moments like that.”

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