By Katie Morrison
The Atlanta Dream officially opened its 2018 training camp presented by The Westin Peachtree Plaze on Sunday, April 29, with players and coaches coming together for the first time at the GSU Sports Arena on the Georgia State University campus. The Dream spent their first day of camp conditioning, running through drills, and scrimmaging.
Under first-year head coach Nicki Collen, the 2018 team considers every member of the roster to be a rookie as they learn and adapt to her coaching style. Prior to the start of Sunday’s practice, Coach Collen encouraged her team by telling them she and her coaching staff specifically hand-picked this roster in the offseason, reminding them that each of them have something unique to offer.
“Seeing them all come together was like Christmas morning, when you see all of the presents under the tree and you can’t figure out which toy to play with first,” said Coach Collen after practice. “Genuinely, as they came together for the first time at physicals yesterday, and then on the court, to see them all together was really special.”
Two of the Dream’s 2018 WNBA draft selections, Mackenzie Engram and Monique Billings, wasted no time proving that they are ready to perform alongside players that have more experience in the league. Billings, who thought the first day of camp was very fun and productive, ultimately described it as a learning experience.
Returning Dream players helped set the tone for the day, creating a welcoming and positive atmosphere for their teammates. All-Star Elizabeth Williams was impressed by the newcomers’ eagerness to learn, and reiterated that everyone is learning under a new head coach.
Practice will continue all week as the team prepares for its season opener on Sunday, May 20 at Dallas.
Other training camp notes:
- Angel McCoughtry, who is currently playing oversees in the Russian League Championship series, is not expected in camp until mid-May
- Second-round draft pick Kristy Wallace will not report to training camp (injured)
- Training camp signee Adora Elonu, who is playing in Spain for Avenida, will miss the beginning of training camp