After leading the Atlanta Dream from their infancy to consecutive appearances in the WNBA finals, the only head coach the franchise has ever known is out.
One day after firing Marynell Meadors and replacing her with assistant Fred Williams, the Dream try to keep the Tulsa Shock winless on the road Tuesday night.
The surprising move was announced Monday, with Williams also taking over Meadors' duties as general manager. Williams served as head coach of the Utah Starzz from 1999-2001.
Meadors was the WNBA coach of the year in 2009 and an assistant coach for the United States women's team that won Olympic gold in London.
"As a team, we are unified in our drive to build on what we've achieved in our first five years," Williams said in a release from the team. "We want to acknowledge the strong contribution that Marynell Meadors made to this organization. Our franchise will continue to build on the tradition of speed, scoring and tough defense that has resulted in back-to-back Eastern Conference championships."
The Dream are 12-12 after going a franchise-best 20-14 last year. It's unclear if the shakeup had anything to do with the recent absence of star Angel McCoughtry.
The league's leading scorer sat out back-to-back games last week due to what was described as personal reasons, then came off the bench and played 20 minutes in Saturday's 84-74 loss to Minnesota. McCoughtry had also been held out of the starting lineup June 15 against Los Angeles for breaking an unspecified team rule.
"She played," Meadors said Saturday when asked if McCoughtry was at full strength. "She played the game tonight. I guess she is. She wouldn't be in the game if she was not, OK? All I can say is that she played."
McCoughtry, averaging 22.2 points, said Saturday that she was hoping to start against a Shock team she's had her way with of late.
"I asked coach for a couple of days off so I could get myself together," said McCoughtry, who's averaged 26.7 points in her last three meetings with Tulsa. "She allowed me to do that, so I'm grateful for that.
"I felt like I didn't really have my legs (Saturday) like I wanted to. I'll be OK, though, once I get back in the flow of things."
Seeking its third consecutive two-game season sweep in this series, Atlanta has to like its chances of bouncing back against the Shock (4-19). Tulsa suffered its sixth loss in seven games and dropped to 0-10 as the visiting team Saturday with a 91-71 defeat at San Antonio.
Riquna Williams had 17 points and Ivory Latta scored 15 for the Shock, who were outrebounded 42-24 while playing their second game in as many nights.
"It was a very tough game," Latta said. "We played one of if not the best teams in the league and we are coming off back-to-back games and I don't want to blame it on fatigue, but we know we need to come out and play better."
A more efficient effort on the glass could go a long way for the Shock, who rank last in the WNBA with 29.8 rebounds per game. Atlanta held a 36-26 advantage on the boards and shot 60.9 percent during a 102-92 victory at Tulsa on June 29.