WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — All Arike Ogunbowale could do was shake her head as she glanced at the stat sheet in the locker room after Dallas lost by a point to New York on Friday night.
The rookie had a rough night from the field, missing a WNBA-record 21 of 23 attempts.
“Nothing you can do about that, that’s tough,” she said. “Shots didn’t fall.”
Ogunbowale set the league futility mark for a player taking 20 or more shots, according to STATS. She surpassed the 3-for-20 effort by Sheryl Swoopes in 2002. Ogunbowale also matched the record for most misses in a game that didn’t go into overtime that was held by Wendy Palmer-Daniel in 1997. Maya Moore missed 23 shots against Connecticut in an overtime game in 2015.
The fifth pick in the draft missed her first 10 shots from the field against New York before hitting a 3-pointer in the third quarter. She then followed that up with another 3 and looked as if she was starting to get going from the field as she pumped her fist after the second basket. It just wasn’t her night, as she missed her last 11 shots.
“I’ve seen her hit those shots. She’s got to understand that you have to play through contact and you’re not going to get calls your way, so you can’t stand and look at the official and complain because the other team is going in transition,” Wings coach Brian Agler said. “That’s a growing she needs to make. People are going to pay attention to her.”
Even on the worst shooting night of her young career, Agler had faith in his budding young star. With the team down 69-68 with 24.4 seconds left, the Wings drew up a play for Ogunbowale. She missed a 3-pointer and then also a pullup in the lane on the ensuing rebound. She had one last chance for the victory after New York missed two free throws, but her desperation heave at the buzzer was off, too.
“I would say as a team we did a very good job,” Liberty guard Kia Nurse said. “We will always try to take away the opposing team’s top scorers. Asia did a great job to start with on her.”
Ogunbowale did find other ways to try and help Dallas win. She had a career-best five assists and made all four of her free throws.
It’s been a streaky week for the 2018 Final Four MVP, who hit two buzzer-beaters to lift Notre Dame to the national championship that year. She was 9 for 26 against Las Vegas on June 22. She followed that up with a stellar performance against Connecticut, when she made 10 of 17 shots on Wednesday.
“She’s one of the few on our team who can create her own shot,” Agler said. “That’s where that came from. She responded last time after that and we’ll go from there. Our team is much more than just her. We’ve got to start bringing the best out of them.”