Aces wing Angel McCoughtry needed one factor because the coronavirus unfold throughout the Chinese language border and into neighboring international locations close to Russia, the place she performed for Dynamo Kursk in the course of the WNBA offseason.
She needed to come back dwelling.
“Even when (COVID-19) first got here out, I used to be prepared to come back dwelling,” McCoughtry stated. “I used to be like, ‘This isn’t sounding proper. This isn’t sounding like one thing we’re used to.’ I used to be prepared to come back dwelling from the leap.”
McCoughtry returned to the US from Russia final week and is patiently awaiting the start of the WNBA season whereas quarantined at her dwelling in Atlanta. The 33-year-old small ahead is keen to debut for the Aces, with whom she signed as a free agent in February after nine-plus seasons with the Atlanta Dream.
“There’s a lot uncertainty,” stated McCoughtry, a five-time All-Star and two-time All-WNBA first-team choice who has led the league in scoring twice. “I’ve simply obtained to ensure I come again in prime form.”
McCoughtry stated she first heard in regards to the coronavirus in January, figuring out solely on the time that it was spreading in China. But it surely started to trickle throughout the Chinese language border and into different international locations, prompting extra consciousness and concern.
She stated she thought of violating her contract to depart the crew, as Russian Premier League video games continued with followers amid the worldwide disaster, however continued taking part in till the league suspended operations March 17.
“We have been like, ‘Wait a minute? We’re going to proceed to play by means of this? What’s happening?’ It was only a lot,” McCoughtry stated. “However I feel with all of the strain from everywhere in the world, leagues needed to cease. … Even when wasn’t as dangerous of their nation, they nonetheless needed to cease.”
McCoughtry flew with little bother from Moscow to Amsterdam to Atlanta, noting “it wasn’t as laborious” as she thought to get again into the nation. She has a basketball court docket in her yard and might nonetheless shoot and is sustaining her bodily health by means of aquatic train in her pool.
She’s additionally been using her bicycle when the climate permits and is utilizing the excess of free time to collect her bearings.
“I’m going to be optimistic,” she stated. “Actually, there’s a lot to get finished. There’s a lot you are able to do. There are methods to be artistic and get stuff finished.”
McCoughtry tore ligaments in her left knee in August 2018 and missed the 2019 WNBA season, aside from a number of seconds during which she ceremoniously performed in the course of the season finale. She returned to play for Dynamo Kursk and stated she initially observed a palpable lack of athleticism as she labored her approach again into type.
She stated she feels spry now, extra just like the McCoughtry of outdated. She added that she’s keen to hitch a core in Las Vegas that features All-Stars A’ja Wilson, Liz Cambage and Kayla McBride, together with former No. 1 overall picks Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young and reigning Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby.
And a franchise that she thinks is on the cusp of a WNBA championship — the one factor lacking from her impeccable resume.
“I’m able to get to Las Vegas and discover the town,” stated McCoughtry, who has a 19.1 profession scoring common in 10 seasons. “I’m able to placed on my new uniform. I’m enthusiastic about these issues. And I need these issues to occur pretty shortly.”