Arike Ogunbowale, 26, is a Nigerian-American pro basketball player for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Dallas Wings (WNBA). She played collegiate basketball for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish before being selected fifth overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft by the Wings. She was named the Most Outstanding Player of Notre Dame’s 2018 national championship run after scoring game-winning baskets in both the semifinal and championship games.
Yolanda and Gregory Ogunbowale raised Ogunbowale in Milwaukee. She is the eldest of three siblings. She is of Yoruba heritage, and her name “Arike” means “to treasure, cherish, pamper, and adore” in Yoruba. Her father served in the Nigerian military, whereas her mother, Yolanda, played softball at DePaul University. Her brother Dare, a running back for the Houston Texans, played football at the University of Wisconsin.
Ogunbowale attended Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee during her high school years. There, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame. She averaged 11.4 points per game as a reserve her first year at Notre Dame, and the following year she became a regular starter. Ogunbowale’s game-winning buckets in the semifinal against UConn and the final against Mississippi State helped the Fighting Irish win the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament in her junior season. In her final season at Notre Dame, she again led them to the NCAA Tournament final, but this time they lost by a single point despite her 31 points in that game and a tournament average of 22.8 points.
The Dallas Wings selected Ogunbowale fifth overall in the 2019 WNBA draft. Ogunbowale was named the WNBA 2021 All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (MVP) after scoring 26 points in the team’s WNBA victory over Team USA. She ranked third in the league in scoring in 2019, averaging 19.1 points per game. In 13 of her final 14 games, she scored 20 points or more, including the final 11 of the season. She was named to the All-Rookie Team at the end of the season. She has continued to shine for the Dallas wing this season and averages 19.6 points per game.