The Atlanta Dream’s Angel McCoughtry is one of the most beloved players in WNBA history, and she took the court last night despite being injured. Despite her injury, she still managed to score a career-high 19 points.
Angel McCoughtry, a longtime player for the Atlanta Dream, took the court in her last game with the team despite an injury.
11:52 p.m. Eastern
ESPN.com’s Mechelle Voepel
- Mechelle Voepel is an espnW reporter that covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports. Voepel has been with ESPN since 1996 and has covered women’s basketball since 1984.
Angel McCoughtry is now a member of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, but she still calls Atlanta home.
For the first time as a member of the Aces, the guard/forward returned to the city where she spent a decade in the WNBA. Despite the fact that McCoughtry’s season was cut short due to an ACL injury in May, Aces coach Bill Laimbeer and McCoughtry wanted to share a memorable moment in front of the Dream faithful.
That was given to her towards the conclusion of the Aces’ 78-71 win.
McCoughtry was introduced into the game with 7.9 seconds remaining in the game and a standing ovation from the crowd. She walked to the far corner of the court and received a pass from Jackie Young, a teammate. From just inside the arc, McCoughtry took an uncontested shot. It rimmed out and was recovered by Tiffany Hayes of the Dream, who hugged her old teammate.
After the Aces’ game in Atlanta on Thursday night, Dream co-owner and vice president Renee Montgomery snapped a picture of Angel McCoughtry on the floor. Getty Images/NBAE/Adam Hagy
“I was thrilled when Bill asked if I wanted to play today, get in the game for a few of seconds,” McCoughtry said, laughing that she had no idea she would be handed the ball. “That’s why I didn’t make the shot.”
“There are no words to adequately express the sensation. It had been a fantastic day. Because I reside here, it’s nice to come back home. I had a fantastic experience.”
McCoughtry was chosen first overall out of Louisville in 2009, and she led the Dream to three WNBA Finals (2010, 2011 and 2013). After several years of playing in both the WNBA and abroad, she sat out the 2017 season to relax. In 2018, she was named an All-Star for the sixth time, although she missed the playoffs due to a knee injury late in the season.
While she was recovering from her injuries, McCoughtry made a ceremonial appearance in one game during her final season with the Dream in 2019. She joined the Aces as a free agent in 2022 and helped them reach the WNBA Finals. She didn’t have a chance to play in Atlanta last year since the season was played in the bubble in Bradenton, Florida.
“I was thinking about it today during shootaround,” Laimbeer said of the decision to play McCoughtry on Thursday. “I told her, ‘If there’s a place in this game where I can put you to receive a standing ovation from the fans,’ I’ll try my best.’
“Angel isn’t very emotional, but I felt it was beneficial for her. It would be two years away if it was next year. I just thought it would be fun to do this, and she agreed.”
“It was nice to see Angel at least touch the court today,” Hayes said of McCoughtry, who helped her adapt to the NBA as a rookie in 2012.
Laimbeer’s 300th regular-season WNBA win, second most behind Washington’s Mike Thibault, helped the Aces rebound from a 76-62 defeat to Connecticut on Tuesday (354). Laimbeer, who formerly coached in the WNBA for Detroit and New York, has 35 playoff victories to Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve’s 41.
Along with 19-6 Connecticut and 18-8 Seattle, the 18-7 Aces have already secured a playoff berth this season. These teams are vying for the top two places in the rankings, which will earn them a bye into the best-of-five semifinals.