MCCOUGHTRY TO MISS GB’S DREAM DATE

Atlanta Dream star Angel McCoughtry will miss Sunday’s friendly against Great Britain in Manchester after spraining her knee.

Losing the Team USA forward, considered one of the WNBA’s best players, is a blow for the American side as they become the first team from the women’s league to ever cross the Atlantic.

The Dream, minus McCoughtry, arrived in the UK on Thursday morning to begin their five-day overseas stint which will also include clinics and promotional appearances.

It is also the team’s only pre-season appearance before the real action begins.

“It’s something very different,” admitted Atlanta guard Armintie Price. ”We’re just trying to get to know each other.”

Price, the 2007 WNBA Rookie of the Year, didn’t have to do much homework when it was announced the Dream were Manchester-bound. For one obvious reason.

“I know about United,” she revealed. “I’ve watched them. You hear about them on TV. So I knew about the place. I’ve just not been there. But when I found out, I was on Facebook telling people: ‘wow, we’re going to England’. We were all texting each other.”

Price is no stranger to Europe. The 26-year-old played for Spanish League side Mallorca for a season. Getting married made heading overseas for the winter a less attractive option, she concedes. Now, in the WNBA’s long off-season, she has a second job as assistant coach at the University of Mississippi, her alma mater. And it has provided a new insight into the dynamic between coaches and their charges.

“It lets you know the commitment that the coaches put in so that the players are prepared,” Price (right) states. “You have a lot to figure out before the game. Even as a player, you have to learn a teaching style because everyone has a different way of learning. Just because you say: ‘box out’ isn’t enough because someone might not know what that means. So to get them to understand it, and for them to take it in, it’s a big difference.

“But it helps me when I get into the WNBA because I understand how hard a job it is. It makes me try more to help the other players get where the coaches are coming from.”

With just one game to get ready, the Dream’s staff will need all the help it can get as the side begins its quest to reach the WNBA Finals for the second successive year.

Facing Great Britain (ESPN, 5pm) – fresh off three tough games in Turkey – will be a different kind of challenge. Unknown opponents, unfamiliar players, different schemes to contend with.

“Our playing style won’t change,” Price underlines. “It will be much more competitive because we’re representing the United States and our league. The coaches will see what works.

“But we’ll stick to Atlanta Dream basketball.”

Tickets for GB v Atlanta Dream are available at www.men-arena.com, or on 0844 847 8000.

 

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