Aces Help Atlanta Honor Angel


This season has seen the Las Vegas Aces celebrate players that have been a part of the franchise’s history. Since Mark Davis bought the team, he wanted to make sure that women who have played for the Utah Starzz, San Antonio Silver Stars, San Antonio Stars and Las Vegas Aces got their due recognition for their place in the history of the game. Players such as Jennifer Azzi, Adrian Williams-Strong and Vicki Baugh have already had their day.

Thursday night marked a different sort of celebration of history. With the Aces playing the Atlanta Dream, many were surprised to see Angel McCoughtry on the injury report as Questionable. The former five-time All-Star had previously missed the entire season after tearing her ACL and meniscus during the preseason. However, the closing seconds of the game on Thursday provided both her teammates and the franchise she had previously given so much to a chance to show her the love she deserves.

The Past

McCoughtry joined the Aces prior to the bubble last season. Prior to that she had spent 10 seasons in Atlanta after being the number one overall pick in the 2009 draft. She grew into an absolute legend with the Dream, leading the league in scoring and steals twice each. She also made five All-Star appearances, two All-WNBA First Teams and four All-WNBA Second Teams. Add in two Olympic gold medals and the resume for McCoughtry becomes overwhelming.

Not to be seen as just a regular-season player, McCoughtry once dropped a WNBA-playoff record 42 points against the New York Liberty in her second season in the league. In her third season in the league, she would put up 38 points in a Finals game. In the first six seasons of her career, the Dreams never failed to make the postseason and made three trips to the WNBA Finals.

Then came the knee injuries, starting near the end of the 2018 regular season. She would miss the entire 2019 season and then moved on to the Aces. Last season she returned to form. McCoughtry was the second-best player on the team that would earn the number one seed. She would make her fourth career Finals appearance, but the ultimate win continues to allude her.

The Moment

Thursday’s appearance against the Dream was important for multiple reasons. After suffering a severe knee injury again, many were afraid that they may have seen the last of McCoughtry on the court. She will turn 35 during the playoff run and is unlikely to actually make an appearance in a meaningful role. Even with a speedy recovery, she may not be quite ready for the beginning of next season.

For a league celebrating its 25th anniversary, celebrating the women who have shined is part of that celebration. Due to the pandemic and injuries, this was the first time since August 7, 2018 McCoughtry was able to be in front of the fans who had loved her. For her teams past and present (including Renee Montgomery courtside) and fans, this was a moment to embrace her and show her just how much she has meant to the league as a whole. In a season full of them, this may have been the most special moment yet.

About Corey Rausch

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