The Dream’s Angel McCoughtry was named Rookie of the Year and Marynell Meadors was named Coach of the Year in the WNBA. Congratulations to both!
McCoughtry, the No. 1 overall draft pick this year, led all rookies in scoring and steals and was fifth in assists.
“There was no doubt in my mind when I was scouting talent for the 2009 draft that Angel was a special player, and she proved that in her rookie season,” said Dream General Manager & Head Coach Marynell Meadors.
“There was a lot of competition for this award but she was by far the best. I’m so proud of her and this is only the beginning. I don’t think she has really seen what she can do yet.”
I remember the year before seeing Marynell at our Virginia game at Florida State and asking her who she was taking with the first pick. She said then, without hesitation… Angel McCoughtry. I asked Marynell, where will you play her? The inquiary coming from her roster full of players at Angel’s “positioin.” Her response showed her experience and being able to see past the “position pigeon-holing” we coaches often do… “On the floor… she’s a player!” Well done MM… congratulations!
McCoughtry, the No.1 overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft presented by adidas, finished the season with two consecutive adidas Rookie of the Month honors.
“Statistics only tell part of the story about Angel, even though her numbers were incredible,” said Dream President & COO Bill Bolen. “Certain players just have the ability to take over a game, and Angel has that talent both offensively and defensively to will the team to victory. Her ability to step in as a key starter during our stretch run into the playoffs was remarkable for a rookie, and we are even more excited about what the 2010 season will bring for Angel in Atlanta.”
The 6’1” forward started her professional career by posting 15 points and seven rebounds in an 87-86 win over the Indiana Fever. One of her best games came in a 93-87 win over the San Antonio Silver Stars; McCoughtry posted a career-high 34 points, collected seven rebounds and dished out four assists. Another performance where McCoughtry’s versatility stood out was a win late in the season against the Monarchs. She had a career-high 10 assists and added 26 points and five rebounds. McCoughtry scored double-digits in all but 10 games during her first professional season.
McCoughtry helped propel a team that finished with only four wins in 2008 to second place in the Eastern Conference this season. The Dream advanced to the 2009 WNBA Playoffs, the first postseason appearance in franchise history. The 14-game improvement is the second-best single-season turnaround in WNBA history. The mark of a truly great player is their ability to empower those around them to over achieve.
McCoughtry, the all-time leading scorer and rebounder at the University of Louisville, excelled on the court throughout her college career. She was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year as a senior and was Louisville’s first three-time All-America selection.
In honor of being named the 2009 Adidas Rookie of the Year, McCoughtry will receive $5,000 and a specially-designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.
The Atlanta Dream’s Marynell Meadors was named the recipient of the 2009 WNBA Coach of the Year Award. Meadors led the Dream to the second-biggest turnaround in WNBA history. The Dream finished 18-16 and made the playoffs this season, one year removed from a 4-30 inaugural campaign. Sitting along side Marynell in 2005 on Richie Adubato’s bench in Washington I can tell you, there is not a nicer person in our profession. Respectful of the game and wonderful to be around, this is such a wonderful honor for Marynell.
Meadors received 30 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Indiana’s Lin Dunn finished second with six votes while Phoenix’s Corey Gaines placed third with four votes.
“There are a lot of great coaches in this league, so for me to receive this award with a second-year franchise is a tremendous honor,” said Coach Meadors. “I did not do this alone. I have a great coaching staff in Carol Ross, Fred Williams and Director of Basketball Operations Sue Panek. It’s a credit to them and to our entire franchise. Everyone got behind us and did what they needed to do to make us successful. I’m accepting this honor really for all of us.
Meadors becomes the first coach to win the award within the franchise’s first two years (excluding Houston) after she engineered a 14-win improvement in 2009 over the Dream’s inaugural season record. The 2008 Dream won four games, the second lowest win total in WNBA history. One year later, Meadors steered Atlanta to an 18-16 record, a second place finish in the Eastern Conference and the franchise’s first playoff berth. The 14-win improvement marks the second largest one-season turnaround in league history (2003 Detroit Shock, 9-23 to 25-9).
“Marynell not only made the offseason moves to put together this talented roster, she brought them together as a team,” said Dream President & COO Bill Bolen. “People forget that this was almost a completely new team of players that had never played together before. After our tough inaugural season, no one expected us to have the success that we did. We are happy that Marynell has received the recognition she deserves for our amazing turnaround.”
Under Meadors, the Dream ranked second in the league in scoring (84.1 ppg), field goal percentage (44.9 percent), steals (9.7 spg) and turnovers forced (17.7 pg) and first in rebounding (37.0 rpg) offensive rebounding (11.9 orpg). A year ago, Atlanta ranked 10th in scoring (74.5 ppg) among WNBA teams and allowed 84.7 points, the second most total in the league. The Dream’s -10.1 point differential ranked last in the league; however, the team boasted a +1.9 point differential this year. Further, Atlanta was the only team to shoot below 40.0 percent in 2008.
As the Dream head coach and general manager, Meadors overhauled the team’s roster for 2009. Only four players remain from the last year’s opening day roster, including Ivory Latta who was waived and brought back midseason. In the offseason, Meadors traded for the negotiating rights to Chamique Holdsclaw and then convinced her to return to the WNBA. She also signed Michelle Snow, selected Lyttle in the Dispersal Draft and drafted McCoughtry and Shalee Lehning to form a new team core.
Meadors came to Atlanta in 2007 after three years as an assistant with the Washington Mystics where she helped guide the team to a playoff appearance in 2006. Meadors has also been the head coach and general manager of the Charlotte Sting and the director of scouting for the Miami Sol. Prior to her experience in the WNBA, the Tennessee native coached for a combined 26 years at Florida State and Tennessee Tech.as originally reported by wnba.com