NEW YORK – Arike Ogunbowale hasn’t let losing shake her confidence.
She was the fifth pick in the draft by the Dallas Wings and like many talented first-year players, Ogunbowale has already lost more games than she did in her college career at Notre Dame. Bu Ogunbowale said she was mentally prepared for the transition to the WNBA.
“I knew coming in it’s not the same,” she said. “I knew it would be a challenge. We are a really young team right now. We’ve been in most of all the games. I knew it would be challenging and my mindset was ready for it.”
The former Notre Dame star only lost 13 games in her four years in college.
“It’s tougher, the competition is higher,” she said. “In the first half I learned a lot about myself. I’ve had to take it up a level in this league. Some things have been exploited that I have to change to get better at.”
Ogunbowale is averaging 15 points for the Wings (6-16), who are next to last in the AP’s WNBA Power Poll. But as one of the few bright spot s for Dallas, Ogunbowale constantly drawing the other team’s top defender.
“I guess it’s a sign of respect. As a rookie I’m still learning the game,” she said. “It’s tough, but in the long run it will make me a better player.”
A look at this week’s WNBA poll:
1. Connecticut (16-6): The Sun are the hottest team in the league with seven consecutive wins, They are in the midst of a four-game road trip and have two west coast trips in the month of August that will go a long way in determining if they can get secure one of the top two playoff seeds.
2. Washington (15-7): The Mystics suffered a rare blowout in Phoenix before finishing off Las Vegas in the completion of the earthquake game .
3. Las Vegas (15-8): The Aces have been missing both of their post players with Liz Cambage resting and A’ja Wilson still working her way back from a left ankle sprain.
4. Los Angeles (13-8): The Sparks got Candace Parker back and have looked good since the All-Star break.
5. Chicago (12-9): The Sky host New York before a pivotal two-game road trip to Las Vegas and Los Angeles this week
6. Seattle (12-11): Has struggled to find consistent scoring outside of Natasha Howard lately and the Storm will need to find a second or third option to keep winning.
7. Phoenix (11-10): Leilani Mitchell has really provided a spark lately complementing Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner well on offense.
8. Minnesota (10-11): The Lynx have struggled to start the second half of the season.
9. Indiana (8-15): Consecutive wins have propelled the Fever to more victories than they had all last season. It seems each night a different player has stepped up for them.
10. New York (8-13): Coach Katie Smith is still trying to find a lineup that works consistently and time is starting to run out on the Liberty.
11. Dallas (6-16): Megan Gustafson has provided a lift lately. The AP college player of the year averaged 7.3 points and 5.7 rebounds this past week.
12. Atlanta (5-17): The Dream have lost seven consecutive games and sit at the bottom of the standings.
Player of the week
Candace Parker earned player of the week honors after helping Los Angeles win both its games this week. She averaged 18.5 points, 7 rebounds and 2.5 steals for the Sparks. Others receiving votes include Jonquel Jones of Connecticut and Elena Delle Donne of Washington.
The Connecticut Sun acquired Theresa Plaisance from the Dallas Wings on Tuesday for first-round pick Kristine Anigwe.
Plaisance started 12 games for the Wings, averaging 6.0 points per game and 4.4 rebounds. She has made 23 three-point field goals in 2019, trailing just Jonquel Jones among centers in that category.
“We are excited about the acquisition of Theresa Plaisance,” Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller said. “Theresa is a talented, versatile offensive player and is considered one of the best stretch post players in the league. She is someone who we have targeted for a few seasons and we are excited to have her with us. Theresa gives us an experienced, young veteran presence who has a tremendous reputation across the league as a fantastic teammate and unifier in the locker room.”
Anigwe was selected ninth in the draft and averaged 2.0 points and 1.8 rebounds this season.
Game of the week
Connecticut at Las Vegas, Sunday. Two of the top three teams will square off as Connecticut continues its four-game road trip against the Aces.
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