|7:30 PM PT8:30 PM MT9:30 PM CT10:30 PM ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 PM MST9:30 PM EST6:30 UAE (+1)03:3022:30 ET8:30 PM CT1:30 , May 14, 2021
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Ogwumike sisters lead Sparks into season opener vs. Wings
There are unknowns about the upcoming WNBA season after a number of players opted out of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with influx of new players via the draft and location changes for some key contributors.
Here's one thing we do know heading into Friday's season-opener between the visiting Dallas Wings and the Los Angeles Sparks: The matchup features an exciting showdown between two of the WNBA's top players in Los Angeles' Nneka Ogwumike and Dallas' Arike Ogunbowale.
Nneka Ogwumike hopes to help lead the Sparks further into the playoffs than their disappointing second-round loss to Connecticut in the "Wubble," in Bradenton, Fla., and the addition of her sister, Chiney Ogwumike, and former Mystics standout Kristi Toliver -- both of whom opted out last season -- gives Los Angeles (15-7 in 2020) more depth.
"I'm excited to see where this is headed," Nneka Ogwumike told ESPN. "I think our speed is going to be something that really contributes to how we play well. I look forward to seeing how much more room we have to grow."
Ogunbowale is back after leading the WNBA in scoring last season with her average of 22.8 points per game. Dallas has a lot of young talent on its roster after adding three of the top five picks in No. 1 overall selection Charli Collier, a 6-foot-5 forward/center from Texas; No. 2 overall pick Awak Kuier, a 6-foot-4 center who'll become the first player from Finland to play in the WNBA; and No. 5 Chelsea Dungee, a 5-foot-10 guard from Arkansas.
The Wings (8-14) missed out on the WNBA playoffs in 2020 by just one game, so getting to the postseason is an obvious goal under first-year coach Vickie Johnson. Dallas will also rely on second-year forward Satou Sabally and veteran guard Allisha Gray.
"I'm proud of our defense, the effort we have," Johnson told ESPN. "Being able to guard one-on-one and team-wise. Our energy level is very high. I'm actually surprised with our conditioning; we're in great shape."
The game will be streamed live on the teams' Facebook pages.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 13, 2021