Atlanta Dream Build Inaugural Roster With 13 Picks In 2008 Expansion Draft
-- Betty Lennox, Katie Feenstra, Kristin Haynie and Erika DeSouza Highlight Selections of WNBA's Newest Franchise --
-- Ivory Latta, Iziane Castro Marques
Also Acquired Via Trade --
NEW YORK, Feb. 6, 2008 — The Atlanta Dream began the process of building its inaugural roster by choosing 13 players in the 2008 Expansion Draft and completing several trades, the WNBA announced today.
"We have been very selective with our list and were able to obtain some great size, athleticism, character and depth through today's expansion draft," said Atlanta Head Coach and General Manager Marynell Meadors. "Each player understands the opportunity to get our Atlanta Dream franchise started in a positive direction and we are all looking forward to our inaugural season."
The list of players selected includes: Carla Thomas (Chicago Sky), Erika DeSouza (Connecticut Sun), Katie Feenstra (Detroit Shock), Roneeka Hodges (Houston Comets), Ann Strother (Indiana Fever), LaToya Thomas (Los Angeles Sparks), Kristen Mann (Minnesota Lynx), Ann Wauters (New York Liberty), Jennifer Lacy (Phoenix Mercury), Kristin Haynie (Sacramento Monarchs), Chantelle Anderson (San Antonio Silver Stars), Betty Lennox (Seattle Storm) and Yelena Leuchanka (Washington Mystics).
Additionally, Atlanta immediately orchestrated three trades involving players in the expansion draft. The Dream traded the fourth overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft and guard Roneeka Hodges to Seattle in exchange for the eighth pick in the draft and veteran guard Iziane Castro Marques. They also traded the 18th draft pick and forward LaToya Thomas to Detroit in exchange for second-year guard Ivory Latta. In the third trade, the Dream acquired the 24th overall draft pick from Indiana, in exchange for agreeing not to select specific unprotected Fever players.
Atlanta selected from a pool of available players as determined by each of the other 13 WNBA franchises. Each team submitted a maximum of six players who were "protected" and therefore not eligible for selection in the Expansion Draft. Atlanta had the option to choose one player from each team without regard to current contract status, provided they pick no more than one unrestricted free agent. The Dream now have the right to designate that unrestricted free agent -- Betty Lennox -- as a "core" player, giving the team exclusive negotiating rights to her in exchange for an offer of a one-year, fully guaranteed contract at the maximum salary.
All teams now enter into the WNBA's free agency period, as defined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Qualifying offers and "core" player designations must be made by Feb. 11. Teams and players can negotiate from Feb. 12 to Feb. 18, while contracts and offer sheets may be signed beginning on Feb. 19.
Players on the Dream roster with ties to the southeast region include former Vanderbilt and SEC players Anderson and Carla Thomas as well as former University of North Carolina and ACC star Latta, a native of McConnells, South Carolina. The team's roster now also boasts four international players -- Castro Marques (Brazil), DeSouza (Brazil), Leuchanka (Belarus) and Wauters (Belgium).
The Dream -- who now hold the eighth, 24th and 32nd picks in the 2008 WNBA Draft to be held in April -- will open the regular season May 17 on the road against the Connecticut Sun and then host the Detroit Shock in their home opener at Philips Arena on May 23. For information or to purchase season tickets for the Atlanta Dream's inaugural season, please call (404) 604-2626 or visit www.atlantadream.net. Email inquiries should be sent to email@example.com.
About the WNBA
Now entering its 12th season, the WNBA is the longest-running and most successful women's professional team sports league in America. The WNBA features 14 teams with the Eastern and Western Conferences comprised of seven teams each. In 2008, the expansion Atlanta Dream will join the Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Detroit Shock, Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Washington Mystics in the Eastern Conference, while the Houston Comets, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, Phoenix Mercury, Sacramento Monarchs, San Antonio Silver Stars and Seattle Storm continue to comprise the Western Conference.
The 2008 season will tip off on May 17, when Lisa Leslie and the Los Angeles Sparks take on Diana Taurasi and the defending champion Phoenix Mercury in a nationally televised contest (3:30 p.m. on ABC). For the third straight year, ESPN2 will feature "WNBA Tuesdays" as the appointment viewing destination for WNBA fans. ESPN2 will televise "WNBA Tuesdays" for nine weeks during the regular season, beginning with a May 20 telecast featuring a Western Conference match up between the Sacramento Monarchs and Seattle Storm. Combined WNBA coverage on ABC and ESPN2 will include 21 national telecasts in 2008, while NBA TV, the league's 24-hour television network, will offer 70 regular season contests.
Renowned off the court for its dedication to the community, the WNBA is deeply committed to WNBA CARES programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on promoting health and fitness, breast health awareness, reading and youth basketball programs. For more information on the WNBA, log onto www.wnba.com.