- Belarus Olympian returns to WNBA -

ATLANTA, February 9, 2012 – The Atlanta Dream announced today the team has re-signed center Yelena Leuchanka to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, further terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Leuchanka returns to the Dream after taking the 2011 WNBA season off to focus on the Belarus national team. The first Belarusian player in the WNBA, Leuchanka was the leading scorer for her team in the 2008 Olympics. Belarus has not qualified for the 2012 Olympics in London.

“It’s always nice to come back to the team where you know the players and coaches and are familiar with the style of play,” said Leuchanka. “I hope we can continue to build and compete for a WNBA title. Atlanta is not an underdog anymore, and I am happy and privileged to be part of the team again.”

The 6-5 center was an important part of the Dream’s success in 2010, helping the team capture its first Eastern Conference championship. Leuchanka appeared in 32 regular season games, averaging 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game off the bench. She played in all seven postseason games.

Leuchanka had previous stints in the WNBA with the Charlotte Sting in 2006 and the Washington Mystics in 2007. She currently plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia during the WNBA offseason.

Leuchanka has received numerous accolades in Europe, where she has played the majority of her professional career. She guided Belarus to its first Olympic appearance in 2008 and to fourth place at the FIBA World Championship in 2010. Leuchanka was honored as a member of the All-Star Five at the World Championship and was named to the 2011 EuroLeague All-Star team.

The Atlanta Dream tips off its fifth season this summer at Philips Arena as part of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the world’s longest-running women’s professional sports league. The Dream, the defending two-time, back-to-back Eastern Conference Champion, opens its home schedule on May 25 against the New York Liberty. Season and group tickets are on sale now and individual tickets will be available for purchase in the spring. For more information, visit or call (877) 977-7729.