ATLANTA — The Dream had already started revamping its roster before Atlanta added All-American Angel McCoughtry with the top pick in Thursday's WNBA draft — moves the second-year franchise hopes will erase the sting of a record 30 losses last season.
Atlanta has brought in veterans Michelle Snow, Nikki Teasley, Sancho Lyttle and are expecting to sign former All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw next week.
That's why general manager/coach Marynell Meadors says she will smile more this year.
After going 4-30 last year, that's understandable.
Meadors says the team's new acquisitions have provided playoff hopes for a squad that set a league record for losses to begin the season, losing 17 in a row to start the 2008 campaign. Atlanta also set a record for losses in a season.
"We have people now who have won championships in the WNBA and NCAA," she said. "You can't substitute nothing from that. We have finishers now. And we just drafted someone who can really score."
Meadors sees the versatile McCoughtry playing shooting guard and small forward. She averaged 23.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and led the nation with 164 steals while at Louisville, leading the Cardinals to the NCAA national championship game.
Meadors says McCoughtry will be a good fit in a possible lineup that could include Holdsclaw, Teasley, Snow and Lyttle.
The Dream released leading scorer Betty Lennox and 6-foot-8 center Katie Feenstra Mattera. Atlanta returns Ivory Latta, Tamera Young, Erika Desouza and Iziane Castro Marques as holdovers who are expected to contribute off the bench.
With a mixture of veterans and young players, Holdsclaw says her new team has huge upside. She had knee surgery about five months ago but says she is around 85 percent and expects to be ready by the regular-season opener at home against Indiana on June 6.
"My knee will be fine," Holdsclaw said. "My thing is to build chemistry with my new team. It's great to know that I'm joining a squad with proven winners. It should show on the court this season."