Atlanta Dream's Angel McCoughtry Snags 2009 WNBA Rookie of the Year Honors

Cheryl CowardContributor IOctober 1, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI. - APRIL 5: Angel McCoughtry #35 of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates blocking a shot against the Oklahoma Sooners during the NCAA Women's Final Four Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on April 5, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Just a couple of months after leading her college team to its first Final Four appearance, Angel McCoughtry considered quitting the game.

The No. 1 pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft became disenchanted after a rocky start in the league.

“The best thing about this year is that I struggled at the beginning of the year,” McCoughtry told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I was down on myself. Then I just thought, if I wasn’t talented I wouldn’t be here. I can play. When I did that I started to play my game.”

Good thing she stuck around.

McCoughtry received 30 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters to earn the 2009 Rookie of the Year award. She led all WNBA rookies in points (12.8) and steals (2.2), and ranked fifth in assists (2.1).

McCoughtry finished the season with two consecutive Rookie of the Month honors.

She helped the second-year Dream advanced to the 2009 WNBA Playoffs—their first postseason appearance. The team also finished with a winning record (18-16) after losing all but four games in its inaugural season. The 14-game improvement is the second-best single-season turnaround in WNBA history.

The Dream's head coach Marynell Meadors was named Coach of the Year.

In honor of being named the 2009 Rookie of the Year, McCoughtry will receive $5,000 and a specially-designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.