Angel McCoughtry is returning to basketball, joining Athletes Unlimited for its third season.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft and a two-time Olympian with USA Basketball, McCoughtry has played in just three WNBA games since 2021 due to injuries. But she will take the court again with Athletes Unlimited, with the season set to run from Feb. 29 through March 23 in Dallas.

“As the newest member of the AU family, I am beyond excited to start this journey. Basketball has always been a passion that drives me,” McCoughtry said in a release. “My focus is clear: I just want to hoop again, to be on the court where I feel most alive. I can’t wait to show the world what I got.”

The 37-year-old is feeling good, she told ESPN, and has been progressing well in both her rehabilitation and workouts.

A former star at Louisville, McCoughtry spent her first 10 WNBA seasons with the Atlanta Dream. While there, she won the 2009 Rookie of the Year award, made the All-Star game five times and was a member of three WNBA Finals teams. Twice she led the league in scoring and steals.

Since becoming a free agent in 2020, McCoughtry has bounced around, helping the Las Vegas Aces to the WNBA Finals in 2020 but missing the 2021 season with a right knee injury. She played two games for the Minnesota Lynx in 2022 before being waived.

“It’s been hell,” she told ESPN. “You go over 10 years never getting hurt. But then you get hurt, you have a surgery, and it changes things. It’s been like a domino effect.”

In November, she visited the USA Basketball camp. While there, she spent time with former Olympic teammates Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner.

McCoughtry says that she still has “something left,” and she hopes that Athletes Unlimited might help her get back to the WNBA.

“I look forward to showing that I still have ability,” she told ESPN. “I feel like playing AU can help me get back in the WNBA. I know the narrative is, ‘She hasn’t played, she’s older.’ I just want to prove basketball still exists in my world.”

Other WNBA players, including Kelsey Mitchell, Lexie Brown, Allisha Gray and Sydney Colson, have signed back on for another season with Athletes Unlimited.

After Chennedy Carter’s rocky sophomore season with the Atlanta Dream in 2021, two-time WNBA scoring leader Angel McCoughtry reached out to the younger player.

Yet while the two formed a mentor-mentee bond, that relationship has since fizzled out, McCoughtry revealed to Lyndsey D’Arcangelo for Just Women’s Sports.

“She still has a long way to go,” McCoughtry said. “Sometimes, when you help people, you try to help so much that you really don’t see them wanting to help themselves after a while. You have to kind of just move on from it.”

After making the WNBA All-Rookie team in 2020, Carter was suspended in July 2021 following a locker-room confrontation with then-teammate Courtney Williams. She did not play again in 2021, and then she was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in the offseason.

McCoughtry reached out to Carter in the midst of this career upheaval, she told Just Women’s Sports. She spent 11 seasons in Atlanta, from 2009-19, and experienced some rough times with the franchise herself.

“I know what it’s like when you’re alone and nobody reaches out. It’s like nobody cares,” McCoughtry said. “So I wanted to show, like, I cared. I definitely tried to help her as much as possible.”

The pair bonded on and off the court.

Yet even with McCoughtry’s support and with the new scenery of Los Angeles, Carter struggled to find her footing. She averaged just 16.4 minutes per game in 2022 and started just two games for the Sparks, and she missed four games toward the end of the season due to what interim coach Fred Williams called a “coach’s decision.”

“I’m very proud of (Chennedy Carter) and the adversity that she’s been through this season,” her teammate Brittney Sykes told reporters at the time. “She’s a great player, so let’s just leave it that.”

And now Carter’s relationship with McCoughtry has cooled, McCoughtry said. Carter had signed with the RSTAR agency, the same one that works with McCoughtry, but she has split with RSTAR as well.

Carter did not respond to a request for comment on her parting ways with McCoughtry and RSTAR.

“She always has my number to reach out when she’s ready to really better herself,” McCoughtry said.

Angel McCoughtry still has more to give to the game of basketball. At 36 years old, she’s not ready to retire. Even if the thought is there, lingering on the horizon and staring her down, riding off into the sunset is just going to have to wait.

Instead, McCoughtry is looking ahead to January, when WNBA free agency begins. And she’s intent on finding a team.

“I definitely want to go to a contender,” she says candidly. “I deserve that. But even if it’s somewhere that was not a contender before, I believe I’m the type of player that can help them become contenders.”

McCoughtry says she’s healthy and has been working to get back into game shape. And with the possibility that players will face suspensions when the WNBA’s prioritization clause goes into effect next season, there could be teams that need her veteran presence.

“She’s experienced, she’s been around championship-caliber players, she’s a gold-medal winner, she’s carried a team,” one WNBA assistant coach says of McCoughtry. “She understands her injuries have changed things, but that experience and her mindset could help.”

Rey Jefferson, McCoughtry’s agent at RSTAR Sports and Entertainment, believes she’ll have a positive impact wherever she ends up. As veteran salaries continue to increase under the WNBA’s current CBA, he expects teams will be more inclined to sign players to one- or two-year deals to fill roster needs while remaining under the salary cap.

“It gives you that flexibility to be able to hold the franchise accountable, but also keeps your options open,” Jefferson says. “For her, I think two is the sweet spot.”

McCoughtry’s 13-year pro resume speaks for itself. Drafted first overall by the Atlanta Dream in 2009, she won WNBA Rookie of the Year and has gone on to be named a five-time All-Star, two-time scoring champion, two-time steals leader, seven-time All-Defense First Team member and a part of the WNBA’s 25th Anniversary Team. Add in two Olympic gold medals with Team USA and multiple championships overseas, and it’s fair to wonder what else there is for McCoughtry to accomplish on the basketball court.

“I need that riinnnnng,” she says, laughing. “I’ve been so close so many times, but I think it’s time for me to get one.”

McCoughtry played her first nine seasons with the Dream. (Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

The first time McCoughtry had a shot at a ring was in 2010. In just her second season, the Dream made it to the WNBA Finals but were swept by the Seattle Storm 3-0. Atlanta made it back to the Finals in 2011 and 2013 but again fell in three games, each time to the Minnesota Lynx. McCoughtry’s last shot came in 2020 after she signed with the Las Vegas Aces in free agency. The Aces reached the Finals for the first time in franchise history, with McCoughtry playing a pivotal role, but the series ended on a familiar note in a three-game sweep to Seattle.

It’s understandable for McCoughtry to feel that she has unfinished business. She missed the 2021 season with the Aces after tearing her ACL and meniscus in a preseason game, just two years after sitting out the 2019 season with an injury in her other knee. And last season, after she joined the Lynx in free agency, things didn’t pan out the way she had hoped.

“I’m out there practicing for two hours, and I just wasn’t ready to be practicing at that extensive moment coming back from injury,” McCoughtry says. “I think I was trying to prove that I was back and I was making myself worse, if that makes sense. And then I just think that I didn’t fit with that team. Some things are just not a fit, but there’s no hard feelings.”

McCoughtry and the Lynx parted ways just two games into the 2022 season. Minnesota bought out her contract and waived a number of other players in a tumultuous start to their season. McCoughtry and Jefferson put out feelers around the league with the hope that a contending team would scoop her up.

“Honestly, I was hurt because I thought I was just gonna go back to Vegas from the jump,” McCoughtry says. “I feel like I should have stepped up and had a conversation with A’ja (Wilson) and Coach (Becky Hammon) before the season. But I didn’t, and it just didn’t come out in a conversation, which I wish I would have done.

“But that was their moment to win a championship and move on. At the end of the day, I was definitely trying to get picked up by other teams. I had contacted (the Washington Mystics) because it was home. But since nobody picked me up, I said, well, enjoy life and have fun.”

McCoughtry averaged over 15 points per game for the Aces in the 2020 playoffs. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

For the rest of the summer, McCoughtry spent time traveling, training and working on her multiple business projects — from overseeing Happy Cow, her ice cream shop in Atlanta, to producing an upcoming horror movie. She also recently ventured into the tech industry, creating a website and app called, a platform where people can leave gifts and messages for their loved ones after they pass away.

“I’m grateful because after my first injury, I had nothing to do. And it was like, I’m losing my mind,” McCoughtry says with a laugh. “ I was like, I really have to figure out what I want to do after basketball. So the first injury helped with that. The second one, I had so much to do. Matter of fact, too much.”

Part of McCoughtry’s busy schedule involved mentoring Chennedy Carter. Having spent the early part of her career in Atlanta and experiencing what she calls “a lot of mistreatment behind closed doors,” she felt a kind of kinship with Carter. The two bonded on and off the basketball court, and McCoughtry shared video clips of them playing basketball together on social media. Carter even signed with Jefferson’s agency.

“I know what it’s like when you’re alone and nobody reaches out. It’s like nobody cares,” McCoughtry says. “So I wanted to show, like, I cared. I definitely tried to help her as much as possible.”

The relationship has since fizzled out, as McCoughtry and RSTAR each recently parted ways with the young hooper.

Carter’s young career has been a bumpy one. After getting drafted fourth overall and making the WNBA All-Rookie Team with the Dream in 2020, she was suspended indefinitely the following July after a locker-room confrontation with then-teammate Courtney Williams. Carter didn’t play for Atlanta the rest of the season, and in February she was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks as part of a package deal. In what was seen as a fresh start, Carter played limited minutes under Sparks interim coach Fred Williams, and the two didn’t always appear to get along.

“She still has a long way to go,” McCoughtry says of Carter. “Sometimes, when you help people, you try to help so much that you really don’t see them wanting to help themselves after a while. You have to kind of just move on from it. … She always has my number to reach out when she’s ready to really better herself.”

The Sparks and Carter did not respond to a request for comment on her split with McCoughtry and RSTAR.

McCoughtry says she’s open to mentoring other young players, but they have to be willing to put in the work. She comes from an “old-school” basketball mentality where spending countless hours in the gym was a given, and every single minute on the court was earned.

“I think that social media shows these kids the glitz and the glam of it, and I wish they could get more of the backstories,” McCoughtry says. “That’s why I tell them, ‘Look at everybody’s backstory and how they got to where they are. You’re gonna see a lot of ups and downs.’ They just don’t see that side of it. They want the glitz and glam. And I’m like, you know what it takes for that?”

Throughout her decade-plus career in the WNBA, McCoughtry has seen younger generations of players enter the league and take it by storm. She’s also seen her fair share of evolution. Now in its 26th season, the WNBA is marketed and promoted much better than it was when she came into the league in 2009. But McCoughtry still feels there’s more work to be done, especially when it comes to sharing individual player stories. Being involved with the “We Are the W” documentary with fellow WNBA players DiDi Richards and Isabelle Harrison showed her what kind of storytelling is possible.

“I just want the league to promote everybody and what they’re doing off court. Get into what these girls are doing,” McCoughtry says. “Soon as the guys do anything — a winery, a restaurant — the NBA blasts it. I want the WNBA to start blasting what these girls are doing off court. They’re trying to be business women, you know what I mean?

“The offseason is the time to really dig into this stuff.”

McCoughtry last played a WNBA game with the Lynx in May. (Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images)

As November trickles into December, McCoughtry continues to work on her businesses, projects and music. She’s also thinking about basketball and where she might want to play next season. A return to Atlanta is top of mind, but where she ends up hinges on a number of factors.

“I think that the way I had to leave was cut short with politics and a lot of mistreatment. Because I will say that when I went to Vegas, I saw what a franchise should treat their players like. It’s a true example,” McCoughtry says of her time with the Dream, in the years before co-owner Kelly Loeffler’s public rift with the players and sale of the team.

“And now that Atlanta has those kinds of people now, I think I need to get my just due on that. I think I need to be able to fill that here, where I’ve given so much.”

If she can stay on the floor, those in and around the league believe McCoughtry will add value wherever she ends up.

“Obviously when healthy she is an extraordinary talent,” says ESPN basketball analyst LaChina Robinson. “While playing in Las Vegas after her first ACL (tear), Angel was impactful because her versatility, athleticism and relentlessness are elite even when not at 100 percent.

“In the end it’s difficult to forecast Angel’s best fit because I don’t know how healthy she is, but if you’re looking for a fairytale or deserved ending to her career, Atlanta jumps off the page for me. The unfortunate part is that with an 11 or 12 player roster, WNBA players don’t often get to retire with the fairytale ending or on their own terms.”

While Jefferson has touched base with the Dream and some other teams to let them know that McCoughtry is under new representation, the real discussions will begin in January when WNBA teams can start negotiating with unrestricted free agents. From there, it comes down what the best fit is for everyone involved.

“I think for someone like Angel, the storybook ending of playing where you were first drafted, where you put a lot of your time, blood, sweat and tears, and came of age — that I feel like is definitely on her heart,” Jefferson says. “But my back and forth, as her representation, is what is the best deal I need to present to her. Because there will be options.”

Whether it’s with Atlanta or another team, McCoughtry’s primary motivation is to get back to the WNBA Finals. After coming close a handful of times, she’s still after one thing.

She wants that ring.

Lyndsey D’Arcangelo is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports, covering the WNBA and college basketball. She also contributes to The Athletic and is the co-author of “Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League.” Follow Lyndsey on Twitter @darcangel21.

The WNBA is debuting its new short film, with “We are the W” premiering Tuesday on NBA TV.

The project features three players at different stages of their careers in the league, showcasing veteran Angel McCoughtry, mid-career player Isabelle Harrison of the Dallas Wings and second-year New York Liberty star Didi Richards.

“We Are The W” follows the three players on and off the court, highlighting McCoughtry, Harrison and Richards’ various pursuits outside of basketball while underscoring their athletic accomplishments.

Shibon Kennedy and Katie McCurdy, an esteemed female directing duo with over a decade of experience, spearheaded the film in collaboration with Cousins, a female-led production studio.

“We Are The W” will air at 6:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday on NBA TV, setting up for a doubleheader as the Atlanta Dream hosts the Dallas Wings at 7 p.m. and the Minnesota Lynx visit the Phoenix Mercury at 10 p.m.

Fans will also be able to view the film on WNBA League Pass starting Tuesday.

The Minnesota Lynx have agreed to a contract buyout with forward Angel McCoughtry, the team announced Thursday.

The 35-year-old forward signed with the team in February after missing the 2021 season with a torn ACL in her right knee.

In her career, she has averaged 18.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 27.9 minutes per game. In two games this season with the Lynx, she averaged 6.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 10.0 minutes per game.

“Although the organization has been very patient with my injury and helping me heal my body, sometimes it’s about what fits best for both parties,” McCoughtry said in a statement.

“I believe in myself and I know I will be all the way back to perform at the highest level. To my fans, thanks for your support during this time. It’s because of your support that I’ll be back and ready to give the game all I got.”

Also on Thursday, the Lynx mutually parted ways with Odyssey Sims, just over a week after signing the veteran guard to a training camp contract. In further roster moves, they released Rennia Davis, Nina Milić and Yvonne Turner from their hardship contracts.

A 12-year veteran in the WNBA, McCoughtry ranks 15th all-time in scoring and eighth in points per game (18.6).

The former Rookie of the Year led the WNBA in scoring in 2012 and 2013 while playing for the Atlanta Dream. She also led the Dream to three WNBA Finals appearances (2010, 2011, 2013) and holds the finals record for points in a game (38) and playoff game (42).

Additionally, McCoughtry is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, having played for Team USA in 2012 and 2016.

Last year, McCoughtry was named to “The W25,” which honored the 25 best players in WNBA history.

Angel McCoughtry is heading to the Minnesota Lynx, reaching a deal with the WNBA team, as first reported by Girls Talk Sports TV’s Khristina Williams.

According to the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, McCoughtry has signed with Minnesota and will join the Lynx next week.

The former first-round draft pick enters her 13th year in the WNBA after missing last season with the Las Vegas Aces due to a torn ACL and meniscus. In 2020, McCoughtry helped the Aces to a WNBA Finals run, averaging 14.4 points and 5.1 rebounds across 22 games played.

The 35-year-old is a five-time All-Star, two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time league-leading scorer, but she has yet to capture a WNBA championship, falling short in all four of her Finals’ appearances.

McCoughtry will join a Lynx roster that will likely be missing Napheesa Collier, who is expecting her first child in May. Playing a similar role on the court as Collier, McCoughtry and center Sylvia Fowles still have the potential to lead Minnesota to a playoff run.

The Lynx finished the 2021 season with a 22-10 record before falling to the Chicago Sky in the second round of the playoffs.

Angel McCoughtry is lending a hand to Atlanta Dream guard Chennedy Carter.

The WNBA legend revealed on Tuesday that she started mentoring Carter a few months ago.

“As I have gotten to know her she is an awesome kid,” McCoughtry wrote. “Fun, energetic and eager to learn. Expecting great things out of this young kid!!”

McCoughtry, who currently plays for the Las Vegas Aces, spent 10 years in Atlanta after the Dream selected her first overall in the 2009 WNBA Draft. A five-time WNBA All-Star, McCoughtry has twice been the WNBA scoring and steals leader.

It’s hard to imagine a better mentor for Carter, who will be entering her third season in the WNBA in 2022 after Dream coach Tanisha Wright said on Monday that the guard is “a part of our roster.”

The Dream suspended Carter indefinitely in July following a verbal altercation in the locker room after a game against the Aces. Courtney Williams, who was reportedly involved in the exchange with Carter, will not re-sign with the Dream after the WNBA suspended her and Crystal Bradford for getting into a fight outside of an Atlanta club in May.

Prior to her suspension, Carter was excelling for the Dream despite missing the first six games with an elbow injury. Starting all of the 11 games she played in, Carter reached double-digit scoring in eight of them, including four games of 20-plus points. In 2020, Carter was named to the WNBA All-Rookie team after leading all rookies with 17.4 points per game. She also was the youngest player in WNBA history to score at least 30 points in a game when she racked up 35 against Seattle at 21 years and 266 days old.

Carter should factor heavily into the Dream’s 2022 plans. The team has just five players under contract for the year, including the 23-year-old. The Dream also have the third overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft.

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.

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.

The Las Vegas Aces provided an update on Angel McCoughtry Monday, stating that the forward has torn her right ACL and meniscus.

The news comes after McCoughtry was carried off of the court during Saturday’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Sparks. She went down after a rebound 2:49 into the first quarter.

McCoughtry will undoubtedly be missed. Last season, despite playing just 20 minutes a game, she averaged 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Not to mention, she brings a veteran presence to a team that has high expectations heading into the season.

This is McCoughtry’s second run-in with a knee injury, having missed the entire 2019 season due to an injury to her left knee. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.

Las Vegas Aces player Angel McCoughtry was carried off the court with an apparent right knee injury during the team’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Sparks.

The Ace’s forward went down in pain after an attempted rebound. McCoughtry was helped off the court, putting zero weight on her leg.

She was then ruled out of Saturday’s game and eventually brought back to the locker room.

At this time, there is no further word from the team on the extent of McCoughtry’s injuries.

Ahead of Saturday’s incident, the Aces were considered a favorite going into the regular season. McCoughtry was a vital force in the team’s finals run last year, averaging 14.4 points per game.

This isn’t McCoughtry’s first run-in with injury. She was out for the entire 2019 season after suffering an injury to her left knee.