Riceboro native DeLisha Milton-Jones was on the roster for the Atlanta Dream’s WNBA season opener Friday night in Madison Square Garden against the New York Liberty, but she did not play, according to wnba.com.
The Liberty won 82-73. The Dream’s home opener is scheduled for 3 p.m. today against the Connecticut Sun, and the game will be televised on SportSouth.
The Dream’s roster includes nine players who finished the 2014 season with the team, including the entire front court. Holdovers from last year are guard Matee Ajavon, center Nadia Colhado, center Erika de Souza, guard Tiffany Hayes, forward/center Aneika Henry, forward Sancho Lyttle, guard/forward Angel McCoughtry, forward Milton-Jones and guard Shoni Schimmel. Another member of last year’s squad, Céline Dumerc, is suspended for the 2015 season while fulfilling her French National Team commitment.
The returning players, which include the top-five scorers from a year ago, accounted for most of the production from last year’s squad, which for the first time in team history claimed the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs.
Players who accounted for 2,550 of Atlanta’s 2,740 points (93.1 percent) were on the opening-night roster, while the Dream also return players who accounted for 93.2 percent of its rebounds, 89.8 percent of its assists, 93.3 percent of its steals and 94.5 percent of its blocks.
The Dream return five players who have been named to WNBA All-Star teams during their careers (de Souza, Lyttle, McCoughtry, Milton-Jones and Schimmel), plus a former All-Rookie Team member in Hayes. Four of the players are Olympians, with McCoughtry and Milton-Jones (twice) earning gold medals with the United States and Colhado and de Souza competing for Brazil.
The three newcomers on the squad include one long-time veteran and a pair of rookies.
Eleventh-year guard Roneeka Hodges was the team’s lone free agent acquisition after starting all 34 games for Tulsa a year ago. Guard Samantha Logic was the team’s first-round draft pick (No. 10 overall) in the April draft, while guard Erica Wheeler made the team after not even starting training camp as part of the roster.
Milton-Jones, who was acquired by the Dream in a July 9 trade with New York, played in just two games with Atlanta last year before injuring her right Achilles tendon and missing the remainder of the season. In 21 games with the Dream and Liberty in 2014, she averaged 5.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
The Dream, which play their home games at Philips Arena, have qualified for the playoffs in each of the past six seasons, winning conference titles in 2013, 2011 and 2010.
Season and single-game tickets for the 2015 season can be purchased by calling (877) 977-7729 or visiting www.AtlantaDream.net.