Erica Ogwumike has put medical school on hold. The Rice women’s basketball alum will first give pro ball a shot with the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.
It’s been a wild few weeks for former Rice women’s basketball guard Erica Ogwumike. One month ago she was a guest on The Roost Podcast where we chatted about the abrupt end of her collegiate career. What would come next, even Ogwumike admits, was something that she hadn’t really started to process.
The WNBA wasn’t brought up in that discussion. Ogwumike says the possibility of being drafted hadn’t really been on her mind. “Honestly, a couple of days before the draft is kind of when it hit, that my name was consistently being out there.”
Then, in the third round of the 2020 WNBA Draft, the New York Liberty selected Ogwumike 26th overall. She was promptly traded to the Minnesota Lynx, but the moment itself is something she’ll never forget.
“I’m just grateful that my name was called,” Ogwumike said, in awe. “I was like, okay, this is really gonna happen. And yeah, even now, it still feels kind of strange.”
Ogwumike knows she’ll field just as many questions about herself as she will about her family name. Her sisters were mentioned numerous times during her introductory zoom call (a sign of the times, right?) with the Lynx.
Erica credited favorable genetics and the challenge of playing against Nneka and Chiney growing up for part of her ability to reach this point in her basketball career. She admitted rebounding might be attributable as much be to her bloodline as her efforts.
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Another thank you was extended to Tina Langley, Ogwumike’s coach at Rice over her last three seasons. Ogwumike said Langley was in contact with her before and after the draft, reaching out to her former player to share her congratulations. “She’s really happy that I was able to accomplish this and I credit a lot of it to her as well,” Ogwumike said. “She’s been a great coach, a great mentor and I’m happy to have her in my life.”
Life will look a bit different in Minnesota than it did at South Main. Whenever Ogwumike is able to arrive she’ll trade labs for full-time hoops, eager to give pro basketball her all for the time being. As with everything else, she’s ready for the challenge.