20-13, 3rd in Eastern Conference
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re aware the Atlanta Dream has reached the WNBA Finals the past two seasons, falling just short of their ultimate goal: a WNBA Championship. What you may not know, and what Dream Head Coach Marynell Meadors is now willing to share with you, is how they do it.
“We’ve got a secret weapon. Her name is Angel McCoughtry,” laughed Meadors when mentioning the talismanic two-time First Team All-WNBAer who has led Atlanta to the cusp of greatness. “ She’s a real up-and-comer, that McCoughtry.”
Meadors then turned serious when discussing the high-scoring forward who was also recently named to the U.S. Women’s Olympic Team slated to compete for a fifth consecutive gold medal this summer at the London Games 2012. “Jokes aside, I’ve never seen anything like her,” said Meadors. “When she steps onto that court, she plays to win.”
Winning is what the Dream do, especially in the post-season, and with the 14th pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft being held on Monday, April 16 at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, Atlanta has a decision to make.
“I know you’ve probably heard this before, but this is true: we are looking at the best possible athlete with the 14th pick,” said Meadors. “But when it comes down to position, we are particularly looking at the post and maybe at guard this year.”
With Forward/Center Erika de Souza also heading to London this summer with the Brazilian Olympic team, the Dream will be without the feisty post play of de Souza until after the Olympics. This opens a hole in Atlanta’s roster that players like Notre Dame’s Devereaux Peters and Lynetta Kizer could ably fill.
“We are a team that likes to get up and down the court, and that goes for our post players too,” said Meadors. “We want someone who is active on the offensive end can help us in the post. It can be a center or a '4' who likes to get after it. Peters and Kizer are nice players and Glory Johnson (Tennessee), we love her game, but we’re not sure those players will still be there for us to pick at No. 14.”
One thing is for sure, the Dream is not taking for granted another trip to the WNBA Finals and is well aware they have room for improvement, particularly in two areas: defense and free throws.
“We’ve been to two straight WNBA Finals, we know how to get there,” said Meadors. “But the next step is to win it and in order to do that we have to improve. That means getting better defensively. We score a lot, but we give up too many points too. We’ve got to get stops. And when we get into tight games, we need to make those freebies. We have to make improve our free-throw percentage. If we can get those two areas shored up, we’re going go for that next step. The WNBA championship.”
--Jim Reilly, WNBA.com
Recent Draft History
8. Ta'Shia Phillips|
18. Rachel Jarry
32. Kelsey Bolte
9. Chanel Mokango |
21. Brigitte Ardossi
33. Brittainey Raven
1. Angel McCoughty |
25. Shalee Lehning
27. Jessica Morrow