As the end of 2020 draws near, WNBA.com is wrapping up this historic season by reviewing each team’s season. Take a look back at notable contributors and season highlights with the 2020 Season In Review. Next up is the Atlanta Dream.
Individual play was highly recognized for the Atlanta Dream this past season. The Dream had three players receive All-WNBA honors (Betnijah Laney, Most Improved Player and All-Defensive First Team; Chennedy Carter, All-Rookie Team; Elizabeth Williams, All-Defensive First Team) and each showed glimpses of how good they can truly become. The Dream finished with a 7-15 record, but at one point, were in the running to clinch the final spot in the WNBA Playoffs. Taking into account that the Dream only had two returning players this season, it will be interesting to see how Nicki Collen’s team can gradually put the individual efforts into team success in 2021.
Chennedy “Hollywood” Carter was the new kid on the block, but her game spoke for itself. Netting in 17.4 PPG, the rookie led both the Atlanta Dream and her rookie class in scoring. At 21 years and 266 days, her 35-point performance against the Seattle Storm made her the youngest player in WNBA history to score 30+ points.
— WNBA (@WNBA) August 8, 2020
Simultaneously, her 35 points set a new franchise record for points scored in a game by a first-year player. Carter was potentially on her way to winning Rookie of the Year honors before being sidelined with an ankle injury that caused her to miss six straight games. Nonetheless, the high tempo guard was unanimously voted onto the WNBA All-Rookie team. Although Carter was only available for 16 games this season, it’s safe to say that Hollywood could be the future of the Atlanta Dream franchise.
Prior to the start of the 2020 WNBA season, Laney was waived by the Indiana Fever. But shortly after she found a new home on a roster with the Atlanta Dream. Nicki Collen took a chance on the fifth-year player and Laney would make sure it was a decision the Dream wouldn’t regret. After putting up just 5.6 PPG in 2019, the 6-foot forward averaged a career-best 17.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4 assists. Her dominate play led her to Most Improved Player honors. Adding to this newfound success, Laney also made her debut on the All-WNBA Defensive First Team.
After coming off a WNBA Finals run with the Connecticut Sun, Courtney Williams proved that she has a swagger like no other. In the off-season Williams was traded to the Atlanta Dream, but that didn’t stop her confident play. Instead it showed that wherever she goes she can in fact make an impact. The energetic guard averaged career-highs in both scoring (14.6 PPG) and rebounding (7.2 RPG). On Aug. 19, Williams produced her best stat of the season, knocking down 30 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists.
Carter Sets Franchise Record vs. Seattle Storm
On Aug. 6, Carter scored 35 points to set a new franchise record for most points scored in a game by a rookie.
Three Dream Players Record Double-Doubles vs. Sky on Sept. 9
This is a game where the Atlanta Dream could have threw in the towel, but instead chose to fight. On Sept. 9, Collen’s team battled back from an 18-point deficit to defeat the Chicago Sky, 97-89. If this game showed fans anything, it was that when the Dream lock in and play together, they can be a force to reckoned with. Laney led the charge with 24 points and 10 rebounds while Courtney Williams scored 20 points and grabbed 10 boards. Elizabeth Williams completed the trio by adding 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Betnijah Laney Named 2020 Most Improved Player
It was a season to remember for Laney. From averaging 5.6 PPG in 2019 to making the jump to scoring 17.2 PPG in 2020, Laney was voted the 2020 Most Improved Player . The versatile guard-forward joined Elizabeth Williams (2016) as the only players to earn the award with the franchise.
From 5.6 PPG in 2019 to 17.2 PPG in 2020 🤩
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 24, 2020