ATLANTA - Even the firing of Marynell Meadors apparently isn’t enough for Atlanta Dream star Angel McCoughtry (aka/Lori Ann).
Fewer than 24 hours after the head coach and general manager was dismissed by team owners and replaced by assistant Fred Williams, the saga continues, as the WNBA’s leading scorer did not practice with the team this morning and will not play in tonight’s game against Tulsa.
“We are in the process of having conversations with her,” said Williams about McCoughtry’s future with the team. “For right now, we have all our other players here and we are getting ready for Tulsa."
Williams said he is scheduled to speak with McCoughtry tomorrow to resolve the situation.
McCoughtry’s agent Boris Lelchitski confirmed that she is still on the Dream roster. “The new coach and general manager is going to make a decision on how to proceed. I’m sad that Marynell had to lose her job, especially on her birthday. But they are going to work it out and very soon she will be back on the court playing.”
McCoughtry, who sat out two games for “personal reasons,” appears to be wearing on her teammates, who collectively decided to strip her of her role as tri-captain. A players-only voting process had picked Sancho Lyttle, Armintie Price and McCoughtry as team captains at the beginning of the season.
“It was a decision we made with Angel,” said Price, who led a players-only meeting at the end of last week. “We felt that right now, with all the stuff going on, we wanted to remove her out of that area and not have that much pressure on her and let her come back with a level head.
“She’s our sister, she’s our teammate, and we love her regardless of anything,” continued Price. “None of us are perfect, and whatever she is going through, we want her back on the team. Not only is she a great athlete, she is a great person and you can’t fault people for what they are going through, you just have to pray for them. We want her to get back out here as soon as she’s ready and she’ll have our support.”
Whatever it is that McCoughtry is “going through” remains a mystery. A team spokesperson confirmed that the 2009 No. 1 draft pick is not suffering from a physical health issue or a family-related matter.
The Louisville grad did not dress for last Thursday’s home game against Chicago, opting to sit courtside near the team owners instead of sitting on the bench with the Dream players. The next day, McCoughtry did not travel with the team for the road game in Washington, staying in Atlanta where her tweets indicated she was out on the town.
McCoughtry returned to the Dream lineup for Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Lynx, coming off the bench for 14 points in the loss.
On Monday, the now infamous tweet by Geno Auriemma tipped off the basketball world that the axe had dropped: “@marynellmeadors gets fired atlanta owners cave in inmate in charge #coachingisaBitch”. The tweet implied that Atlanta ownership fired Meadors in order to keep McCoughtry.
An hour later a press release by the Dream confirmed that Williams was the new head coach and general manager of the team.
Full Court has also confirmed that Director of Basketball Operations Susan Panek was dismissed from the Dream staff along with Meadors; no reason was given for her dismissal.