McCoughtry suffers season-ending injury, Atlanta Dream confirm
The Atlanta Dream announced Thursday that Angel McCoughtry will miss the rest of the 2018 WNBA season after suffering a torn ligaments in her left knee.
The injury came during Tuesday’s 109-100 win over the Las Vegas Aces, which was a bittersweet occasion in retrospect. Atlanta clinched a playoff berth but lost one of its best players in doing so.
McCoughtry shared a statement about the injury in the Dream’s press release:
I want to thank all the fans, my coaching staff and teammates for giving me the chance to come back and play for the Dream this season. I am disappointed with the injury but I believe our team is in good hands. We have a supportive group and a lot of goals to still accomplish. I plan to be there every step of the way to help us reach them. I appreciate everyone and know I will come back stronger than ever.
The knee injury is a disappointing conclusion to a somewhat underwhelming season for McCoughtry by her incredibly high standards.
The 31-year-old averaged 21.5 points per 36 minutes, the third-lowest of her career, per Basketball Reference. Her 19.3 player efficiency rating and .154 win shares per 48 minutes were also the worst of her WNBA career.
With that said, it’s impossible to understate the impact of McCoughtry’s absence as the Dream try to win their first WNBA title.
Atlanta entered Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Sparks in second place (19-10) despite owning the third-worst offensive rating in the league. The Dream were also second-worst in effective field-goal percentage (.454) and true shooting percentage (.500).
Now, the team will have to be without its second-best scorer, and more importantly, somebody who seemingly relished playing on the big stage. McCoughtry is averaging 22.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 33 career postseason games.
The Dream have a suffocating defense to which they owe the bulk of their turnaround in 2018, and a great defense is a key ingredient for any contender. But that defense can only take Atlanta so far on its own.
Finishing with a top-two seed becomes even more of a priority in the wake of McCoughtry’s injury. If the Dream can avoid the two single-elimination games, then they may still be on course to capture a championship.