The WNBA thrived in the 2010s because of the everyday, enduring efforts of talented, engaging women’s basketball players. On their own steam, with neither sufficient marketing nor adequate financial investment, the players proved that women’s professional basketball is here to stay. As the decade winds to a close, we reflect on the players who made the biggest impact both on and off the court.
Here are the 10 best WNBA players of the 2010s:
9. Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream)
Honors, achievements and numbers of note in the 2010s: 6x All-WNBA, 7x All-Defensive, 5x All-Star, 3x steals leader
It is a compliment that Angel McCoughtry’s game is anything but angelic.
The long-time Atlanta Dream wing is a workwoman lacking any ethereal qualities when she is on the court. However, over the past decade, it often has seemed that McCoughtry has divine powers. From 2010-2015, she led the Dream to playoffs every season, thrice dragging them all the way to the WNBA Finals. At her best, she was the quintessential two-way player, often showing the preternatural ability to snag the timely steal before sinking an elbow dagger.
McCoughtry’s injury-plagued last few seasons serve as evidence of the great burden she carried through much of her early career.
Despite her accomplishments, McCoughtry — the 2009 Rookie of the Year — has been less-heralded than her counterparts in conversations about the league’s all-time best. McCoughtry remains below the level of recognized stardom even though her resume suggests that she more than qualifies.
Now a free agent, McCoughtry also has modeled the multiple ways that WNBA players can make an impact beyond the court. Among other ventures, in 2017 she invested in her adopted city of Atlanta by opening an ice cream shop, McCoughtry’s Ice Cream, in the historically-black Castleberry Hill neighborhood. In 2020, she plans to open a second location in her college town of Louisville, Kentucky.