Roster Set for USA Basketball Women’s National Team Camp in Seattle

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 16, 2018) – A total of 19 members of the 2018-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team athlete pool, including three members of the Seattle Storm, are expected to participate in the USA Women’s National Team’s April 24-26 camp in Seattle.

The three-day camp will culminate with an exhibition contest against the China National Team April 26 in Seattle’s KeyArena. The final USA roster for the exhibition game will be comprised of athletes participating in the training camp and will be announced on April 25.

 

Atlanta Dream Select Monique Billings, Kristy Wallace and Mackenzie Engram in 2018 WNBA Draft

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Dream selected three standout seniors in the 2018 WNBA Draft Thursday Night.

With the No. 15 overall pick, the Dream selected Monique Billings of UCLA. The 6-4 forward was the third woman in UCLA history (14th in Pac-12 history) with 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds. During her 2017-18 senior season, she helped the Bruins to the Elite Eight, averaging 15.3 points and 9.5 rebounds.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 04: Monique Billings poses for a portrait after being selected by the Atlanta Dream during the WNBA Draft on April 12, 2018 in New York, New York at the Nike New York Headquarters. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images)

“We feel so fortunate that Monique was still on the board at 15,” head coach Nicki Collen said. “Monique is an elite athlete with a high motor. Her ability to run the floor and rebound the basketball will fit in well with our current roster. She is an incredible competitor when she steps on the basketball court and we are so excited to welcome her to the Atlanta Dream.”

“I know that wherever I end up, I’ll be utilized. I know that there’s a reason that I ended up in Atlanta so I’m really excited and ready to bring a championship home to “The A”.  Billings said.

The Dream followed up Billings by selecting Baylor 5-11 guard Kristy Wallace with the 16th overall pick. Wallace, who tore her ACL during the 2017-18 season was leading the Lady Bears with 155 assists and averaged 12.9 points. She also led the team in minutes played, averaging 30.1. Wallace was a 2018 Unanimous All-Big 12 First Team member and a 2018 WNCA All-America Honorable Mention.

“I had the pleasure of getting to know Kristy when I recruited her as an assistant at Arkansas,” Collen said. “Kristy is a versatile guard that will do whatever it takes to win. We felt with the depth of our current roster she was worth waiting a year to have with us. Her combination of size and scoring ability from the point guard position made her one of the top guard prospects in this draft.”

In the third round, the Dream selected Mackenzie Engram, a 6-2 forward from Georgia. As a senior, Engram was a Second-Team All-SEC member after averaging 12.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in 33 games for the Bulldogs.

“No one stood out to us more at the ProHoops combine than Mack,” Collen said. “Her ability to hit open 3’s, run the floor, and guard multiple positions at the defensive end makes her a great pick for us. Not only did she play at the University of Georgia, she is a local product, so we are thrilled to welcome her back home to Atlanta.”

PRESEASON MEET & GREET WITH ATLANTA DREAM HEAD COACH NICKI COLLEN

 It was a lively event at McCoughtry’s Ice Cream in downtown Atlanta this past Friday the 13th as fans of the WNBA Atlanta Dream team gathered to meet with Head Coach Nicki Collen.  

Participants could purchase Dream gear, enter a raffle for swag bags handed out by Collen herself and buy fun ice cream flavors such as strawberry lemonade or banana pudding. McCoughtry’s was opened in 2017 by Atlanta Dream player and two-time Olympic gold medalist Angel McCoughtry. 

Collen was friendly and approachable, hugging fans and taking pictures. President of the team Theresa Wenzel was also in attendance. She thanked fans for their participation and invited everyone out to the opening home game against Dallas on May 26. 

The coach gave a few words about the recent WBNA draft after thanking her staff, who were also present.  

“We addressed a lot of needs we felt like we had in terms of depth,” she said. “We have great players that complement each other.” 

Coach Collen also took questions from the audience regarding her thoughts about the upcoming season.  

About her current roster she said “I think we have the players and the versatility to get it done. We have the players it’s just getting them to understand what their role is.” 

On the topic of the upcoming season she commented that every game was important in getting to the coveted championship position. She left the crowd with a big promise: 

“I would definitely rap in centennial park if we bring it home…when we bring it home.” 

WNBA Post Draft Interview

Game on Game on!

As you all know, the WNBA Draft was held April 12,2018 on ESPN2 to announce the new draft picks for the 2018 WNBA season. We, at Chicks into Sports, love all WNBA squads but our loyalty will always lie with our home team, the Atlanta Dream! The Atlanta Dream had 3 picks, two in the second round and one in the third. In the second round, at the fifteenth pick, the Dream selected Monique Billings from UCLA. Also in the second round, directly after Monique, the Dream selected Kristy Wallace from Baylor. In the third round, at the twenty-seventh pick, the Dream selected Mackenzie Engram from UGA! Lucky us, we got a chance to chat with Head Coach Nicki Collen after the draft ended so that she could share with us her thoughts on her new players and how the night went for her.

Post Draft Interview w/ Coach Nicki Collen,
10:15 PM
April 12,2018

Yakiri: Because of the loss of Sancho Lyttle and Bria Holmes and with the return of Angel Mccoughtry, are we rebuilding the Dream or is that in the cards? What’s going on?
Coach Nicki: I would say that this is not a rebuild. I think that we’re adding players that give us great success and continue to let us play the way we want to play.
Yakiri: Tonight it was mentioned that there was an overwhelming rollercoaster of emotions happening. I just wonder how are you feeling after this awesome, emotional night?
Coach Nicki: The rollercoaster had dips but not big drops. I think it made the first round a little stressful as we watched things unfold. We saw the options we had, being pick 15 and 16 and so definitely emotional but a lot of fun! I’ve got a great staff, a great office and it’s really been fun to share with the whole Dream franchise.
Errica: After acquiring Monique Billings, Kristy Wallace and Mackenzie Engram, what are you predictions for them and their expectations towards them for this season?
Coach Nicki: For those players specifically, Monique Billings is unbelievable with running the floor, rebounding out of her area, just really a special athlete. Her best days are ahead of her but what’s gonna get her there is her work ethic. She plays incredibly hard, she’s really competitive. As we have time to work and develop her, we’ll work her into being a little more of a stretch forward, being able to step out of her range. When she steps out on the floor,she’s gonna compete. She’s definitely one of the most successful players in UCLA history so I’m really excited to add her. Kristy Wallace is someone that I’ve known since she was 16 and I was an assistant coach. When it came time to choose a school, she chose Baylor. She didn’t choose me but I followed her career. I think before she got injured, she was a late first round, early second round pick and I feel like with the depth of our roster, we could wait on her. I think it’s not gonna be easy for anyone to make our roster, a second rounder to make our roster. She’s someone that by drafting her, knowing she’s had an ACL injury and will be recovering all year; she just gives us an asset, someone who will compete for a spot in 2019, so I’m really excited about her. Mackenzie Engram, played at Georgia, from Cobb County, she’s someone who can really run the floor, plays really well for her size. She does a lot of things well and she’s very efficient, had an amazing senior year at Georgia and continues to climb in the SEC. Really good additions for us to look at!
Errica: With so many departures, arrivals and returns, how do you intend to really unite this team and make them one?
Coach Nicki: It starts with our culture, what we do in the locker room, the relationships that we start to build and create on and off the court. This team is really talented and we have the pieces to put together to play a lot of different ways with a lot of different lineups. The players really really can complement one another, so while it won’t be easy and it will take time to put our system in and really get them to understand what we’re looking for and what they should be looking for when they’re out on the court, there’s a genuine excitement for all of them to get into camp and see how they play together and do things differently. I’m just so excited to get all of them in camp and start fitting them together.

Shout out to the Atlanta Dream, we cannot wait to support you all full throttle this season! Congratulations to Monique Billings, Kristy Wallace and Mackenzie Engram and to all the other draft picks on your new professional careers!!

 

Errica Blount
Sports Diva

Dream trade forward Bria Holmes to the Sun

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Dream have traded forward Bria Holmes to the Connecticut Sun for the rights to the Sun’s second-round pick (No. 15 overall) in tonight’s WNBA Draft and a 2019 second-round pick, it was announced Thursday.

Originally selected 11th overall by the Dream in the 2016 WNBA Draft, Holmes has averaged 7.6 points and 2.7 rebounds over her first two seasons in the league. This offseason, the former West Virginia University standout was playing in Poland for CCC Polowice. It was announced in January that the Connecticut native would sit out the 2018 WNBA season because of pregnancy.

MONSTER AND NASCAR TOGETHER AGAIN…FOR NOW?

The Monster Energy and NASCAR announced Tuesday April 10, 2018 that they will be extending their two-year partnership deal into 2019. However, according to NASCAR COO Steve Phelps it is “highly unlikely” the sponsors will continue the deal after that. 

NASCAR is planning to change their sponsorship model altogether. The company has reportedly discussed putting together a new model to make navigation easier for sponsors. This could include bundling top sponsorships with television partners and advertising buys.  

The discussion is on-going, and results could apparently be “radically different, somewhat different or maybe minimally different” says NASCAR Senior Vice President Daryl Wolfe. 

Both parties have agreed that the partnership has been very productive on both ends. Monster was looking to tap into NASCAR’s older fan base while NASCAR hoped that Monster would bring in a younger crowd.  

“Monster Energy successfully utilized our sport as a platform to elevate its brand and drive business, while introducing NASCAR to new audiences,” said Phelps. “NASCAR and Monster Energy enjoyed a productive first year and both parties have benefited significantly from the partnership.” 

This Monster/NASCAR relationship came after Sprint decided to step away from the title in 2015. Previous sponsors of NASCAR title series have included Nextel, who later merged with Sprint, and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. 

Monster Energy’s adventurous brand is already well established in the motor sport department. They currently also sponsor Monster Jam, motocross, and drifting in addition to MMA and professional bull riding. 

Meanwhile this past Sunday, Kyle Busch took home first place in the Monster Energy Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway with Kevin Harvick finishing just behind him in second place. The series will continue this Sunday April 15 in Bristol, Tennessee at the Food City 500. 

Dream Sign Center Yelena Leuchanka to Training Camp Contract

ATLANTA – MAY 27: of the Atlanta Dream against the Indiana Fever at Philips Arena on May 27, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

 

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Dream have signed center Yelena Leuchanka to a training camp contract, head coach Nicki Collen announced Thursday.

“I am excited to re-welcome Yelena Leuchanka to the Atlanta Dream,” Collen said. “Yelena will bring a veteran presence to training camp after many successful seasons overseas.”

Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams Signs Multi-Year Contract Extension

ATLANTA, GA – JULY 9: Elizabeth Williams #1 of the Atlanta Dream shoots a lay up against the Dallas Wings on July 9, 2017 at Hank McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

ATLANTA – Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams has signed a multi-year contract extension with the franchise, Head Coach Nicki Collen announced Tuesday. Terms to the agreement were not disclosed per team policy.

“I am really thankful for the Atlanta Dream organization,” Williams said. “They took a chance on me after my rookie year and I’ve had the chance to grow on and off the court ever since. I am really looking forward to building a great culture with this team and in doing so, help bring a championship to Atlanta.”

Williams, a three-year WNBA veteran, enters her third season for the Dream. Since being acquired prior to the 2016 season in a trade with the Connecticut Sun, Williams has started all 68 regular season games and has been named the 2016 WNBA Most Improved Player and earned a reserve spot for the Eastern Conference in the 2017 WNBA All-Star game.

GETTING WILDER WITH JOSHUA

Heavyweight Anthony Joshua has challenged WBC champ Deontay Wilder to a showdown and Wilder has officially accepted.

After defeating Joseph Parker last Saturday, Joshua had some confident words for his upcoming opponent.

“2018 is the time to capture all the belts and we are one belt away now.”

Joshua now holds the IFC, WBO and WBA belts, needing only the WBO belt to complete his collection. The 28-year old boasts 21 professional fights and 6 world championship fights, but Wilder, 32, is a seasoned professional at 40-0.

The British boxer condemned Wilder’s earlier remarks stating: “I want a body on my record”, but assured fans “it’s no problem” to take on the American fighter.

The unification match will decide the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Negotiations are still underway between the two management teams as to whether the first match will take place in the U.S. or the U.K in the two-fight deal.

This will be the first time in years that two undefeated heavyweight champs will face-off for the global title.

Shaq and Gronk Bring it!

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski met up with Shaquille O’Neal in Miami for an event hosted by  O’Neal on Friday night.
Before long spirit fingers was waving in the air as Gronk and Shaq engaged in a “Bring It” styled dance-off.

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Who do you think won?

Shaq vs @gronk dance battle you tell me who won

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