Scoring always has come naturally to Angel McCoughtry. As a Louisville senior in 2009, she pumped in a Big East--leading 23.1 points per game while sparking the Cardinals to their first national championship appearance. Two days after that game, the 6'1", 160-pound forward was picked first in the WNBA draft by the expansion Atlanta Dream and wound up as Rookie of the Year, topping first-year players in points (12.8 average). This season, McCoughtry has raised her average to 20.0 points (fifth in the WNBA) while lifting the Dream to the league's second-best record (9--4). "She is such a terrific player that she can turn a game around and take it over," Dream coach Marynell Meadors says of her franchise player, who twice this season has poured in 32 points. McCoughtry's increased production is partially driven by a need to pick up the slack left by All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw—who forced a trade to San Antonio in the off-season. But as well as asking for the ball, McCoughtry also had asked for a leadership role befitting her new captaincy. "We're trying to reach our max," she said of her team's potential. "The pieces are there. We've got speed, quickness and power." In all respects they've got a player who's getting her points across more prolifically than ever.
ANDREW D. BERNSTEIN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (MCCOUGHTRY)
ANGEL-IN-PASSING Not merely a scorer, McCoughtry also averages 3.5 assists.