One of the WNBA’s best scorers is going through a bit of a kicking phase that peaked on Sunday as a ball was accidentally launched toward fans.
Right before halftime against the Storm, Arike Ogunbowale attempted to stop a long rebound from a halfcourt chuck by holding out her foot, but the ball took a bounce off her right boot and instead of staying grounded, lifted in the direction of the crowd.
arike ejection pic.twitter.com/qzbuMQSq55
— jack maloney (@jackmaloneycbs) June 12, 2022
Ogunbowale was ejected per league rules that state a player must be ejected for “kicking or throwing the ball which enters the stands with force.”
The guard took to Twitter to explain her actions:
If you know me you know I was a soccer player first. Literally every practice and game I stop the basketball with my feet, pass it to my teammates with my feet etc. Ball comes at me fast I always stop the ball with my feet it’s just my first instinct.
— Arike Ogunbowale (@Arike_O) June 12, 2022
“I think that incident happened in L.A. as well if I’m not mistaken,” Wings head coach Vickie Johnson said after the game. “We’re not on a soccer field. We’re on a basketball court. And you have to respect the game, period… We play basketball with our hands, not our feet.”
Ogunbowale’s brother, Dare, a running back for the Houston Texans, responded on Twitter:
“how to not have your player’s back in the media” 😂
— Dare Ogunbowale (@DGO23_) June 12, 2022
Johnson was referring to an incident two weeks earlier when Ogunbowale, out of frustration, kicked a scorers table in a game against the Sparks out of frustration. She was ejected then, too.
Arike Ogunbowale faked a free throw before receiving a technical foul for kicking the scorer’s table. pic.twitter.com/B3ny8P4Ibp
— espnW (@espnW) June 1, 2022
The Wings are in a tough stretch, losing five of their last six games, though Ogunbowale’s logged 16 or more points in eight straight games until the halftime ejection.