Atlanta Dream sign Adaora Elonu in wake of Angel McCoughtry injury
The Atlanta Dream signed Adaora Elonu to a seven-day contract, the team announced Friday.
The team added Elonu to its training camp roster prior to the 2018 season before letting the 28-year-old rookie go. She joins Atlanta after the team confirmed Angel McCoughtry suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Prior to the 2018 preseason, Dream head coach Nicki Collen got a firsthand look at Elonu during her time as an assistant coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Elonu and the Texas A&M Aggies defeated Arkansas in the second round of the 2012 NCAA tournament.
As a senior at A&M in 2011-12, Elonu averaged 11.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals.
According to Synergy Sports, she finished in the top 11 percent in offensive points per possession (0.898). She was particularly effective when cutting to the basket—hitting 56.3 percent of her shots—and spotting up from the field—connecting on 40.4 percent of her attempts.
Elonu has spent her past two years overseas with Avenida in the top tier of Spanish basketball. She averaged 11.3 points while shooting 56.3 percent from the field in 2017-18.
Elonu won’t aid the Dream in one of their biggest areas of weakness, though, as she attempted just six three-pointers in 30 league appearances. Atlanta’s 5.5 made three-pointers per game are third-lowest in the league.
Given the stakes of the next week and beyond, Atlanta’s decision to sign a rookie who has yet to play in a WNBA regular-season game is unquestionably a surprise. The Dream certainly can’t find a replacement equal to McCoughtry, but they likely could’ve found a veteran with more experience in the league if that was their preference.
Atlanta may see Elonu’s inexperience as a strength, though. She’s something of a wild card, and opposing coaches may have some difficulty crafting a game plan to her strength and weaknesses.
At the very least, Elonu adds much-needed depth for Atlanta. The Dream suited up nine players in their 79-73 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday night. Carrying that through to the playoffs would’ve been less than ideal.