February 8, 2022
How Arike Ogunbowale’s commitment solidifies the Dallas Wings’ plan
'Arike is here to stay'
Four-year guard Arike Ogunbowale confirms that she is in Dallas to stay after signing a multi-year contract extension that will keep her with the Wings through the 2025 season. Our Dorothy Gentry broke the news Feb 2. Ogunbowale said thinks the team has built something great already and it is only up from here when she addressed the media on Monday.
“When they said they wanted to extend me that was a-no brainer because I love it here. I love everything about Dallas,” Ogunbowale said. “So now I’m locked in and committed to the team, committed to the city, the organization and I’m just excited to play this season.”
She said when she decided to get a house prior to last season, she knew she was going to be in Dallas to stay.
“Dallas is home and I’m glad I committed early because now I know what’s in front of me. The organization knows I’m here to stay and I’m excited for the future,” Ogunbowale said.
Ogunbowale’s brother Dare Ogunbowale made surprise appearance at the Faecbook Live event to let his sister know how proud he and his family are happy to see all of the hard work she has been putting in paying off.
Dallas Wings President and CEO Greg Bibb told reporters that a big reason they decided to commit to Ogunbowale early is because of her growth off of the ball and in the locker room. He said he is confident that the best of Ogunbowale is yet to come.
“Committing financially and otherwise to a player for the foreseeable future is sometimes a difficult and complex decision,” Bibb said. “And extending Arike Ogunbowale to ensure she’s wearing a Wings’ jersey through at least the 2025 season is not one of those instances. We look forward to seeing a lot more of number 24 in Dallas, and we are thrilled to say Arike is here to stay.”
It has been a busy WNBA offseason with many faces in new places. Bibb said the Wings were in a unique situation with all 12 players under contract with team control, so they were never going to be overly aggressive in free agency.
“Because our plan for many years now has been to build through the draft to put together a very young and talented team and then have that team grow up together here in Dallas,” Bibb said.
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The Wings have now done that. It was a process that started back in 2017 when they drafted Olympic Gold Medalist Allisha Gray. Gray extended her contract prior to last season which will keep her through 2023 per Her Hoop Stats. They can also continue to strengthen with the talent they have on the bench.
Ogunbowale said even with all moves during free agency, she is still very confident in this team. One thing that the Wings have in their favor is the familiarity they will have with each other while continuing to build towards the future.
“I’m not really worried about what everybody else is doing, who they’re adding or taking away, that has nothing to do with Dallas. I’m just focused on our team, what we have and what we can do. We definitely know we’ll take a step from last year and we already took a big step,” Ogunbowale said.
Head coach Vickie Johnson, now in her second season at the helm, guided Dallas on that big step. Johnson said people got a glimpse of what Ogubowale was capable of through her scoring, defense and leadership last season.
“When Arike is put in the record books, years to come; I think she’ll be up there with Cynthia Cooper; as well as leading a team to a championship, doing it the right way on and off the court. I think the sky’s the limit for her and her attitude is the key,” Johnson said. “Last year I saw a different Arike from the beginning to the end, and it’s just gonna continue to grow.”
The Dallas Wings open their season at the College Park Center May 7.