Scenes from outside the currently under-construction Gateway Center Arena at College Park in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. The Gateway Center Arena at College Park open in November, and the city hopes the new venue will be a draw for the city. It’ll host the Hawks’ G-League, the Atlanta Dream and shows programmed by the Fox Theatre. (Photo/Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dream announces 2020 schedule, 18 home games 

The Dream will begin its 13th season with a road game against the Indiana Fever on May 15. The team will play 36 games through Sept. 20.

The Dream will host the Chicago Sky in its home opener at Gateway Center Arena, where the Dream will play in its first full season outside of Atlanta’s city limits.

“Our home opener against Chicago will be an exciting opportunity for our fans to see the best players in the world on our new stage at the Gateway Center at College Park,” coach Nicki Collen said in a news release. “I am thrilled to see the impact they can make in a smaller venue.”  

Dream guard Renee Montgomery has been calling games for the G-League’s College Park Skyhawks and said the College Park community has been welcoming and looks forward to the Dream playing 18 home games there.

“I love Gateway Center Arena, and I would say it if I didn’t,” Montgomery said with a laugh, though she did note that she wouldn’t be looking forward to the drive from her home in Buckhead to College Park, especially during peak traffic hours. “I like the vibe of it for the fans we have in Atlanta. I think it’s gonna be a good feel.”

The 2020 Summer Olympics will take place from July 24 to Aug. 9, and for the Dream, the Olympic break will begin after its July 10 game in Chicago. Two-time Olympian Angel McCoughtry, the Dream’s unrestricted free agent, is set to play for the U.S. women’s national basketball team in its college exhibition against Louisville on Feb. 2, one day after free agency begins. 

No other current Dream player is on a roster for the coming college exhibition or the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament, but the Dream’s Tiffany Hayes, Brittney Sykes and Elizabeth Williams are in Team USA’s player pool.

After the break, the team will return to the court Aug. 16 against the defending champion Washington Mystics. The longest homestand is a four-game stretch from Aug. 20-28. The regular season will end at home Sept. 20 against Chicago. 

“This year’s schedule is certainly a challenge, but one we are looking forward to,” Collen said. “With the addition of two games this season we are now playing 36 games in 93 days, so it will be fast and furious, with an obvious mid-season break for the Olympics.”

The Dream hasn’t been included in any of the 17 nationally televised games set to appear on ESPN or ABC, and no announcements have been made yet regarding games airing locally. Last season, WSB Channel 2’s WSB Now and Bounce TV aired 18 games, including eight away games. 

The team finished the 2019 season with only eight wins, last in the league, after a magical 2018. So, in terms of games to look forward to, calendars should be marked for the opening game. It’ll be fans’ first look at what the team looks like after what should be a busy offseason.

The team has the No. 4 pick in the 2020 draft, and even before the new CBA was announced, more money to work with than it did heading into 2019, when it had to deal with the effects of the season-ending injury McCoughtry suffered in 2018. She was planning to return, so her play counted against the salary cap. McCoughtry and guard Alex Bentley are the team’s unrestricted free agents. Hayes, Williams, Montgomery and Jessica Breland are returning on guaranteed contracts. Monique Billings, Maite Carzola, Nia Coffey, Brittney Sykes and Marie Gülich are still on their rookie contracts. Alaina Coates was signed to a contract through the end of the season.

Only four months to go until the season begins.

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