Moriah Jefferson has had an injury-hit start to her WNBA career, and according to her coach Brian Agler is still “knocking off the rust” in her first official practices in the Bubble with the young Dallas Wings. The 26-year-old Point Guard is excited to be back in the WNBA and working with a young squad.
“I like what I’ve seen from Moriah Jefferson.” In addition to her basketball intelligence and her understanding of team basketball thanks to her college career at UConn, Agler is excited about the role she will have on the team this season.
“She’s excited, she’s energetic, she plays and competes very hard. She plays a very important position at point guard, one that we didn’t have last year so having her on the floor is an extreme upgrade from how we operated a year ago. Moriah is going to give us that leadership, that stability, that we have somebody with the ball in her hands organise that offence, be extremely competitive and make her teammates better.”
Jefferson is delighted to be back playing in the WNBA, and won’t be taking it lightly. “I’m excited to be back on the court with my teammates, it’s been a good first two days and I’m looking forward to keep progressing every single day.” Jefferson and Ogunbowale both have European experience to lean back on, in terms of the lifestyle adjustment to the life inside the bubble. “It really helped me a lot…to know that we have to take it one day at a time…we have to progress every single day”
The return of Jefferson to the roster will free up Arike Ogunbowale to play her natural game on the wing as Coach Agler will be putting the ball in Jefferson’s hands at the point guard position. Ogunbowale is excited to be playing with other playmakers, and players capable of knocking down their own show, but will be flexible to the team’s needs. Ogunbowale is coming off an excellent scoring season in Europe, averaging over 20 points per game in the EuroCupWomen.
Ogunbowale very nearly won Rookie of the year in 2019, despite being played in a role she is unfamiliar with. The 23-year-old shooting guard will be joined by one of her best friends and college teammates in Marina Mabrey, a pairing that led Notre Dame to win the NCAA National Championship in 2018.
The number two selection in the WNBA draft, Satou Sabally, who is doing big things off the floor with the WNBA Social Justice Council, is looking to learn as much as she can on the floor, but won’t be letting Rookie of the Year talk get to her. “I honestly don’t really care about that, I just need to focus on myself, if I focus on anything going around externally it will just distract. I will just do my best and rewards will come by itself.”
Sabally is looking forward to playing for and learning from Agler, a 2-time WNBA winning head coach. “He’s super wise, you can tell by the way he’s setting up practice. I try to soak up everything he’s saying, every comment, the adjustment he makes on my game because he has coached great players and I want to be a great player and win a title someday.”
Sabally is just one of the numerous players, praised for their versatility by Wings President Greg Bibb, and Agler will be looking to play her at the 3 and the 4 position, taking advantage of her length, athleticism and her skill, especially at the offensive end.
Coach Agler echoed the views of Bibb from the night before expecting to see the team progress and improve as the main marker of success in 2020, and he expects the unique bubble environment to be a facilitator in that ambition. “I do think we’ll be a team that improves as much as anybody else through the course of this season.”
Agler is starting from the ground up with the Wings and is aware of the job ahead of him. “We’re at the starting gates, we’re putting a lot of fundamental things in both offensively and defensively and we’re going to take our time to make sure we do those things correctly so we build a really strong foundation.”