The experts said there wasn’t a clear No. 1 draft pick heading into last week’s WNBA draft. But for Atlanta Dream Head Coach and General Manager, Marynell Meadors, there was only one option. She made good on that decision by selecting 6-1 Louisville forward Angel McCoughtry with the first overall pick of the WNBA Draft last week.
“I thought there always was a no. 1 pick,” said Meadors, “I thought that all year long. She has all the things we’re looking for. She can rebound, she can get steals, and she can defend.”
McCoughtry hopes to bring a new edge to an already brand new roster. And Atlanta are hoping to have her contribute immediately.
“Right away I can bring passion, the will to win, that mentality,” she said, “ And I’m gonna do it on the defensive end.”
The Baltimore native, who averaged 23.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game and paced Louisville’s run to the NCAA National Championship game just weeks ago was excited to be in Atlanta, and is hoping to spur a massive turnaround for a team that revamped their roster after going 4-30 in their inagural season, setting the WNBA single-season record for losses.
McCoughtry’s addition adds yet another talented new face to a team that looks much improved from last season, at least on paper. With a plethora of new faces on the roster, it will take some time for the new squad to get used to each other. But one thing is for sure, the selection of McCoughtry, coupled with the debuts of players like forwards Chamique Holdslaw and Sancho Lyttle, center Michelle Snow, and guard Nikki Teasley give Atlanta depth that they only dreamed about in 2008.
“I think we’ll be totally improved,” said Meadors, “I think these experienced players know how to win.”
Meadors is also looking to put all of her options to good use, and gave a bit of insight as to how the lineup will look on opening day.
“I’m not sure who’s going to start at 2,” she said, “But I’d have to save Izzy Castro-Marques will start there. And we’ve got Tamera Young and Ivory [Latta]. The 2 and 3 are really interchangeable in our offense. And when Nikki needs a break Ivory will run the point.”
As for the returnees from ’08, seeing the new roster and improved side was more than welcome after enduring last year’s disastrous campaign.
I’ve talked to all my teammates and we’re excited to get back on the court,” said returning forward Jennifer Lacy, “And definitely not lose 30 games again. Everyone’s coming in and striving to get better, we really believe in the team we’ve brought in.”
MAKING THE TRANSITION
McCoughtry is ready to get to work in Atlanta, a city she was clearly excited to call home.
“This the place to be! It’s the ATL,” she said.
But she did admit that making the quick transition to professional basketball, will force her to make some changes, both in her game and lifestyle.
“There’s a lot going on right now,” she said, “I know I can’t just stroll up in with sweat pants anymore.”
She’ll make the move south soon. But first she’s looking to finish what she started off of the basketball court at U of L.
“I’ve got about a month of school after missing a lot of class [during the NCAA tournament],” she said, “Luckily my professors understand.”
Bagriansky can be reached at email@example.com.