Official press release from WNBA.com
ATLANTA, Jan. 18, 2015 — The Atlanta Dream announced today that it will host the 2015 Atlanta Dream Classic at KFC Yum! Center on May 23 in Louisville, Ky., to open its preseason schedule. The event, which will feature a doubleheader of WNBA preseason contests, will be highlighted by the return to Louisville of current Dream stars Angel McCoughtry and Shoni Schimmel. Both players earned All-American honors while leading the Cardinals to appearances in the National Championship Game.
The doubleheader, which will match the Indiana Fever vs. the Connecticut Sun at 5 p.m. ET before the Dream and Washington Mystics play at 7 p.m., will be the culmination of a three-day event that will include a coaches clinic and a pre-game party on the Yum! Center plaza prior to the doubleheader, and community appearances by all four teams. There will also be closed scrimmages between the teams on May 21 and May 22, giving all four teams an opportunity to play each of the other teams in attendance over the three-day period.
“It’s an honor to announce our partnership with AEG Louisville on bringing the 2015 Atlanta Dream Classic at KFC Yum! Center to the city of Louisville,” said Dream President and General Manager Angela Taylor. “We are also thrilled to give Angel and Shoni a chance to return to the school that they guided to national prominence, as they both speak very fondly of their time at the University of Louisville. We look forward to spending time in the community while sharing WNBA basketball with the Louisville community and fans in the surrounding areas as we start our quest to bring a WNBA Championship to Atlanta in 2015.”
“We are thrilled to host the four WNBA teams at the KFC Yum! Center for the first time ever,” said KFC Yum! Center General Manager Dennis Petrullo. “It’s great to bring former University of Louisville players, Shoni Schimmel and Angel McCoughtry, back into the community that embraced them so dearly when they played here. We look forward to a successful event in May and hope we can build upon it in the future.”
The doubleheader will be highlighted by the return of Louisville’s two most heralded players, as McCoughtry and Schimmel are the two top scorers in UL women’s basketball history and the only Cardinals to accumulate more than 2,000 career points. They are also the school’s only two first-round WNBA draft picks, with McCoughtry being chosen No. 1 overall by the Dream in 2009, and Schimmel going eighth overall to Atlanta in 2014.
Each player also led Louisville to the National Championship Game, with McCoughtry’s squad reaching the title game in 2009 and Schimmel helping the Cardinals reach the 2013 Final. All five of Louisville’s all-time Sweet 16 appearances (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014) have come with either McCoughtry or Schimmel on the roster.
McCoughtry is Louisville’s all-time leader in scoring (2,779 points), rebounds (1,261), steals (481) and blocked shots (162). She was a three-time All-American (2007, 2008, 2009) for the Cardinals who became the first women’s basketball player in school history to have her jersey retired.
Since being selected by the Dream with the top pick in the 2009 draft, McCoughtry has led Atlanta to six straight playoff appearances, including three trips to the WNBA Finals presented by Boost Mobile. She has won a pair of league scoring and steals titles, has made three All-Star Game appearances, been named to two All-WNBA teams and has been an All-Defensive First Team honoree four times. She also helped USA Basketball win gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 World Championships.
“I cannot wait to get back to my roots and return to Louisville,” said McCoughtry. “It has been six years since I played in Louisville, and it will be great to return. No one is more excited than I am.”
Schimmel is Louisville’s all-time leader in three-pointers with 387 (fifth in NCAA history), and ranks second in scoring (2,174) and assists (600). She earned All-American honors and was a Wooden Award finalist as a senior and is the only player in school history with at least 2,000 points and 500 assists.
In her rookie year with Atlanta in 2014, she was named MVP of Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014 after setting an All-Star Game record with 29 points plus eight assists. She also was named the league’s Player of the Week on Aug. 18, set a WNBA record for most assists in her first four games in the league (37) and ranked sixth among rookies in scoring, averaging 8.3 points per game.
“I’m very excited for the chance to play another game at the KFC Yum! Center,” said Schimmel. “It’s going to feel awesome to walk back out on that court with Angel and my Dream teammates. I’m glad we’re able to bring this exciting event to Louisville.”
Tickets for the doubleheader will go on sale Friday, Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. ET, with a presale on Thursday, Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the KFC Yum! Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Group discounts are available at kfcyumcenter.com or by calling (502) 566-5152.