Angel McCoughtry is living the dream
In her third pro season, Angel McCoughtry has the game, the attitude and the résumé of a WNBA veteran.
It has been McCoughtry's stellar play that has led the Atlanta Dream from a difficult 3-8 start to 17 victories in their final 22 games and a second consecutive spot in the WNBA playoffs. The No. 3 seed Dream play at No. 2 seed Connecticut on Friday.
"She's taken on the responsibility," Dream coach Marynell Meadors said. "She places a lot of it on her shoulders, and as Angel goes, this team goes."
The Dream do indeed follow the lead of their young, supremely talented, undeniably quirky star, who plays with an alter ego named "Lori Ann" on the floor and is producing a movie about her 25-year-old life called "Angel's Dream."
McCoughtry believes she has a story to tell. So she is working with filmmaker Stephen Philms to produce a documentary about her life, including her upbringing in Baltimore and college career at Louisville, where she led the Cardinals to the national championship game in her senior season. She was the No. 1 pick in the 2009 WNBA draft by the then-expansion team Atlanta.
"I'm so excited about it; it's going to be big-time," McCoughtry said. "I don't think people have seen a lot of this type of film with women's basketball. They've seen documentaries about LeBron [James] and the Fab Five [from Michigan]. But this is the women's basketball side.
"People think I was a McDonald's All-American and everything, but I wasn't that highly recruited. This is my story about growing up in Baltimore and how I got here. Not even women's basketball fans get to see the things that we go through, to see the things we've conquered to succeed."
McCoughtry said she was always known as "the girl who played basketball" in her neighborhood. It was her "outlet" in a city known for its tough streets, violence and crime.
"I was always the only girl outside playing, coming in late at night. I used to get in trouble because I was out so late," McCoughtry said. "I used to miss curfew to play ball."
A camera crew has been following McCoughtry through the season, filming practice, doing personal interviews. The filming will continue overseas during the European season, capturing that aspect of her life as well.
"They are always filming her," Meadors said. "I'm not sure what it's going to be like at the end, but it's a great idea that she's trying."
McCoughtry said she and the filmmaker are working on getting a distributor, but the project is "pretty much in the beginning stage.'' She made a video that is on www.ifundie.com/angel35, encouraging fans to donate to help her get the film produced. She hopes it will be completed next summer.
"We have a lot of work to do," McCoughtry said.
There is work to do on the court as well. McCoughtry heads into the postseason tied with Diana Taurasi as the league's top scorer at 21.6 points per game.
She has scored at least 30 points in six games this season and three times since September began.
Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn said McCoughtry is playing far beyond her years in a league full of experienced players. The lithe, 6-foot-1 forward has been compared to Sheryl Swoopes for her versatility and athleticism.
"I watch her play and I think that she can't be a third-year player," Dunn said. "She has size, she's quick and she's fast. She's just an amazing athlete."