Angel McCoughtry was listed as questionable for the Las Vegas Aces’ game against the Atlanta Dream on Thursday, 110 days removed from a season-ending ACL injury.
McCoughtry is in her second season with the Aces, but Atlanta remains home for the five-time All-Star after she spent a decade with the Dream. In her homecoming Thursday night, McCoughtry subbed in with 7.9 seconds left to a standing ovation from the Dream fans in attendance.
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The Aces’ 78-71 victory was secured at that point, but McCoughtry still received a pass from teammate Jackie Young and took an uncontested shot from just inside the arc. The ball rimmed out and was rebounded by the Dream’s Tiffany Hayes. Hayes then turned around and gave her former teammate a hug.
“When Bill [Laimbeer] asked me did I want to play today, get in the game for a couple of seconds, I was ecstatic,” McCoughtry said afterward.
But she wasn’t expecting to actually be passed the ball and “that’s why I missed the shot,” she said. “There’s no word that’s going to describe the feeling. It was an amazing day. It’s good to be back home because I live here. I had a great time.”
“I thought about it today at shootaround,” Laimbeer said of the decision. “I told her, ‘If there is a spot I can put you in this game to get an ovation from the crowd … I’ll do my best.’
“Angel’s not really an overly emotional person, but I thought it was a good thing for her. If it was next year, that would be two years removed. I just thought this was something to do, and she agreed.”
With a playoff spot already secured, the Aces (18-7) are playing for one of the top two spots in the standings, which would guarantee them a bye into the semifinals.