Analyzing the Atlanta Dream Expansion Draft

With today's announcement of the Atlanta Dream's Expansion Draft picks, WNBA.com breaks down the selections of Atlanta coach and general manager Marynell Meadors.

Coach Meadors also chimes in below each player's statistics to explain why she made the picks and moves she did.

Talk about the draft and your new Atlanta Dream roster here in our Fan Voice.


2008 Atlanta Dream Expansion Draft Picks
2007 Team
Player
Notes
Carla Thomas
Forward, 6-3
2nd season
Vanderbilt
A star in the college ranks and the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Thomas didn't see as much of the court during her rookie campaign as many other first-year players. But she'll likely get a shot in Atlanta, where her size and strength down low will make her a valuable asset.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 17 0 7.2 .395 .000 .929 1.6 0.2 0.1 0.2 2.5
Career 17 0 7.2 .395 .000 .929 1.6 0.2 0.1 0.2 2.5
Coach Meadors on Carla Thomas:
"She's 6-3 and a very versatile post player. She's physical down on the low block and we like her ability to step out and shoot the three. She's a rookie, and a lot of our players are young… but that's OK. I see her playing a bigger role with us than she did with Chicago last year and I think she has the ability to rise to the occasion. It's on her: If she comes in and works hard, then she's gonna get the playing time."
Erika Desouza
Forward/Center, 6-5
3rd season
The 26-year-old Brazilian post player has spent only two seasons in the WNBA, but her size, strength and skills make her a valuable commodity. She'll likely step in and fill the center void right off the bat, and without a Margo Dydek to compete with for playing time, Atlanta could be the place for her to finally flourish.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 32 2 12.2 .534 .000 .476 3.0 0.4 0.2 0.9 4.3
Career 43 2 10.0 .515 .000 .387 2.6 0.4 0.2 0.6 3.4
Coach Meadors on Erika Desouza:
"She's a physical and powerful player in the paint, and I was very impressed with the way she played last year. She's also a good passer from the high post and I think her ability to rebound -- especially on the offensive end -- and kick out will be a plus for us. And though we took into consideration the possibility of her missing time to train with the Brazilian Olympic team, I think we're going to be able to work it out so that she misses only a couple of weeks."
Katie Feenstra
Center, 6-8
4th season
Liberty
The big post player started 12 games for the Eastern Conference champs this season and was very solid both on the boards and on defense. Her scoring and touch around the basket is also improving. She'll be a very serviceable center and huge presence in the paint for this expansion squad.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 34 12 13.1 .527 .000 .736 4.9 0.2 0.2 0.7 5.2
Career 102 40 17.2 .481 .000 .678 5.4 0.3 0.3 0.9 7.3
Coach Meadors on Katie Feenstra:
"I'm so proud of how Katie has improved her game from year to year and become such a force inside. She sets great screens, her opponents have a tough time getting around her and I love her ability to finish inside. But most of all, I like her attitude. She's a hard worker and I love people who work hard."
Roneeka Hodges
Guard, 5-11
4th season
Florida State
The Dream selected Hodges from the Houston Comets, and subsequently traded her to Seattle, along with the No. 4 pick in the 2008 draft for the rights to...
Iziane Castro Marques
Guard, 6-0
6th season
Brazil
For Hodges and the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, the Dream pick up Castro Marques and the rights to the No. 8 overall pick. And as long as Castro Marques does not sit out the 2008 season to train with the Brazilian National Team prior to the Olympics, she'll be a valuable addition to the squad. A lightning-quick, offensive sparkplug who can shoot from the outside and who took a major step up in 2007, Izi will be a solid second or third scorer for this young Dream team.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 34 34 28.3 .420 .385 .802 2.8 2.8 1.0 0.1 12.3
Career 136 93 21.0 .409 .350 .750 2.2 1.5 0.6 0.0 7.9
Coach Meadors on Iziane Castro Marques:
"To give up the No. 4 pick in the draft for her, it's obvious that I like Izi a lot at the three. Izi and I go back a long way to when she first came to the WNBA when I was instrumental in bringing her to Miami. She brings championship experience and had a breakout year last season. And with her ability to run the floor with that blazing speed, break down defenses, shoot the three and get to the rim just about any time she wants, she'll play a big role for us on offense. She brings emotion, she brings leadership, she's one of the faces of the Brazilian national team and she's a great get for us."

Ann Strother
Guard/Forward, 6-3
3rd season
Connecticut

The Dream acquired the 24th overall pick in the 2008 draft from Indiana in exchange for agreeing not to select specific unprotected Fever players. They instead chose Strother, a second-round pick herself out of UConn in 2006. Strother played sparingly for Phoenix during her rookie season, but got more of a chance in Indiana in 2007 and was a solid outside shooter and contributor off the bench for Brian Winters' Eastern Conference Finals squad.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 12 0 5.8 .323 .400 1.000 0.8 0.3 0.0 0.0 2.3
Career 20 0 5.4 .356 .400 1.000 0.7 0.3 0.1 0.1 2.2
Coach Meadors on Ann Strother:
"A shooter with a fantastic attitude who's had great coaching along the way. I know we need her scoring from the outside and I'm convinced her precision from beyond the arc will continue to be good. She's also a very intelligent player who brings size to the three spot."
LaToya Thomas
Forward, 6-2
6th season
Mississippi State
The Dream selected Thomas from the Los Angeles Sparks, and subsequently traded her and the 18th pick in the 2008 draft to Detroit for the rights to...
Ivory Latta
Guard, 5-6
2nd season
North Carolina
Precisely the kind of big name that will help put some butts in the seats in Atlanta. Latta, a South Carolina native and former star at UNC, surprisingly fell to Detroit in last year's draft and played sparingly for the defending WNBA champs, developing a reputation as a superb outside shooter later in the season (she finished second in the league in 3-point shooting percentage). But without a change in personnel, she was always going to be a backup for the Shock, so she'll likely welcome the move, both in terms of playing time and geography.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 31 1 7.1 .391 .449 .429 0.6 0.6 0.3 0.0 3.0
Career 31 1 7.1 .391 .449 .429 0.6 0.6 0.3 0.0 3.0
Coach Meadors on Ivory Latta:
"Ivory is gonna put people in the stands. Her energy, her excitement and her passion for the game can't help but make people excited, both the fans and her teammates. Everyone else on the court wants to play hard for her, because if they're not, Ivory is gonna talk to them about it. She's a fan favorite and I not going to ease her into this team. She's going to get thrown into the fire… she's gonna play. I want her to be ready to play when she gets here and she's gonna have to produce for us. And I know she will. She's that kind of person… a ton of heart."
Kristen Mann
Forward, 6-1
4th season
UC-Santa Barbara
Mann was one of the relative veterans on the young Lynx squad, and she could end up playing a similar role in Atlanta. A versatile forward who can play either the three or four, Mann is a hustler with some scoring ability who will always play tough on the court.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 34 17 25.9 .375 .349 .784 3.6 1.3 0.9 0.2 7.6
Career 91 50 21.5 .394 .346 .747 3.0 1.6 0.6 0.1 6.3
Coach Meadors on Kristen Mann:
"She's a solid three player who's very powerful and strong. She's comfortable going inside and posting up and banging with the big ones."
Ann Wauters
Center, 6-4
6th season
Belgium
This 27-year-old Belgian national -- the first overall selection in the 2000 WNBA Draft -- has been property of the Liberty since the 2004 season, but has played only 41 WNBA games since then. In the meantime, though, she has starred with Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow, making her a bit of a gamble for Meadors and the Dream. But if Wauters does return to the States for the summer, she could be the go-to rebounder and scorer they're hoping for.
Stats G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Career 125 71 25.4 .538 .300 .788 4.9 1.4 0.6 0.7 9.7
Coach Meadors on Ann Wauters:
"We don't know whether or not she's coming back, but I think she's talking about it. I honestly don't think she knows herself yet. But we're going to talk to her and see what she thinks about the possibility of coming to Atlanta. I think she'll like it here. In terms of skills, she's just so talented inside. She's just an amazing talent… really one of the best in the world. She's smooth, she loves to take it to the hoop and she's shown what she's capable of doing over in Europe."
Jennifer Lacy
Forward, 6-3
3rd season
Pepperdine
A quick, athletic big who's capable of squaring up and taking the ball to the basket, Lacy brings versatility and playoff experience to the Dream bench.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 20 0 4.7 .414 .333 .556 1.0 0.1 0.2 0.0 1.8
Career 53 3 11.3 .465 .143 .658 2.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 3.7
Coach Meadors on Jennifer Lacy:
"Another big, versatile player at 6-3 who can play either the four or the five. She's very aggressive, hustles all the time and runs the floor extremely well."

Kristin Haynie
Guard, 5-9
4th season
Michigan State

Haynie is a prototypical point guard who could be starting for the Dream on Opening Day. She became a valuable sub on the Monarchs playoff squad in 2007, and she's an excellent floor leader who can pass and shoot.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 34 2 16.0 .353 .489 .800 1.1 2.1 0.5 0.2 3.7
Career 98 2 14.8 .354 .336 .828 1.7 1.8 0.8 0.0 3.8
Coach Meadors on Kristin Haynie:
"Kristin and Ivory are really going to complement each other nicely. They're two different styles of point guard, but they both want to get the ball in the hands of players who can score. And they both want to push it up the floor. Kristin was never going to get a ton of playing time behind Penicheiro, but she is going to bring a couple years of experience of playing with a championship-level team and there isn't much that can take the place of that. She has grown up tremendously in the last couple of years and is playing really well overseas this winter."
Chantelle Anderson
Center, 6-6
6th season
Vanderbilt
Another long, tall post player who's capable of both scoring and altering shots in the paint, Anderson is recovering from a fractured patella that limited her to 11 games in 2007. But if healthy, her athleticism and touch around the basket could move her to the forefront of Atlanta's group of centers.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 11 1 7.8 .500 .000 .667 1.8 0.3 0.1 0.4 2.5
Career 124 40 12.7 .469 .000 .730 2.0 0.3 0.2 0.3 4.1
Coach Meadors on Chantelle Anderson:
We really felt like we couldn't have enough size (and we're still not done!). She's 6-6, she has great post moves, she played for Jim Foster at Vanderbilt and improved a lot thanks to the tough SEC competition. She's had a couple of injuries over the last two or three years, but I think she's finally getting well and is playing better every day. She's gonna add size and veteranism to this team.
Betty Lennox
Guard, 5-8
9th season
Louisiana Tech
This former All-Star will add plenty of scoring punch from the get-go in Atlanta. She should start at the two and will help Coach Marynell Meadors by providing veteran leadership and guidance to what will be a relatively young and inexperienced side.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 34 34 27.6 .428 .343 .909 4.7 2.7 1.1 0.2 13.4
Career 236 169 25.6 .406 .335 .828 4.2 2.1 1.0 0.1 12.2
Coach Meadors on Betty Lennox:
"We'll definitely core her, since she's an unrestricted free agent. I can't say enough about Betty's ability to play the game. She's one of the best shooters I've seen in the WNBA, she's very consistent and she has that court savvy that very few players have. She understands game situations and when to score and when to pass -- she has that knack for always being in the right place at the right time -- and that's something you can't teach a player. Her experience in the backcourt will also help the younger Haynie and Latta. I also think Betty can be our go-to scorer."
Yelena Leuchanka
Center, 6-5
3rd season
West Virgina
Still looking for an opportunity with serious playing time in the WNBA, Leuchanka's talent may be somewhat raw, but she has proven herself to be a big-time scorer and rebounder for both her native Belarus and in European competition for TEO Vilnius.
Season G GS MPG FG% 3p% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2007 6 0 4.8 .167 .000 1.000 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.0 0.7
Career 10 0 6.7 .375 .000 .667 0.8 0.6 0.2 0.1 1.6
Coach Meadors on Yelena Leuchanka:
"I was in Washington with Y, and I've never seen any player who works harder. When we get done with practice, she heads off to the weight room. When she's done with the weight room, she heads off to an individual practice session. After that, it's on to shooting drills."


Coach Meadors' general thoughts:
"Looking at this roster, I see a great deal of talent. We have great size, we have scoring from the perimeter, we have people who can put it on the floor and go to the rim and we have bigs who can maneuver and score and rebound in the paint.

"We've got great size and -- for an expansion team -- really good depth.

"I feel really good about this group that we're putting together. I think we've taken really good people who will work extremely hard to improve their games.

"A lot of them are committed to defense. Some of them are not, but by the start of the season, we'll make sure they are.

"We have a lot of athleticism with this group and they're going to be fun to work with.

"We've been really selective with the people we put on our list, and hopefully they all understand that this is a chance for them to start anew and get this Atlanta franchise started on the right foot."