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Feenstra Ready for New WNBA Season

May 12, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Katie Feenstra, shown above during Liberty's victory over DePaul in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, will play for the expansion Atlanta Dream in the WNBA this season.

Katie Feenstra, shown above during Liberty's victory over DePaul in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, will play for the expansion Atlanta Dream in the WNBA this season.

For the third time in four WNBA seasons, 2005 Liberty alumnus Katie Feenstra will open the year with a new team. The 6-8 center and the expansion Atlanta Dream are scheduled to tip off their inaugural season Saturday at 4 p.m., at Connecticut.

The Connecticut Sun are the team which selected Feenstra with the eighth pick of the 2005 draft, but they traded her to the San Antonio Silver Stars on draft day. The Grand Rapids, Mich., native played two seasons in San Antonio, before being dealt to the Detroit Shock for the 2007 campaign. Feenstra helped lead Detroit to the WNBA Finals during her lone season with her home state squad.

Feenstra was taken by Atlanta during the Feb. 6 expansion draft, giving her a whole new set of circumstances for the 2008 season. She instantly went from being a young player on one of the WNBA's best teams to a veteran leader on a brand-new squad.

The Dream roster does feature a couple other experienced players in guards Betty Lennox and Iziane Castro Marques. However, the team will rely heavily on young players like second-year point guard Ivory Latta and Atlanta's first-round draft pick, Tamera Young of James Madison.

The Dream, who will play their home games at Philips Arena, are under the direction of head coach Marynell Meadors. She was the first head coach of the Charlotte Sting and coached Florida State and Tennessee Tech's women's teams for a combined 30 seasons.

After Atlanta opens its season at Connecticut, the Dream will return home for their home opener against Detroit, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. The expansion team is only slated to make one national television appearance this season, during a July 1 home game versus defending WNBA champion Phoenix.

The team Phoenix defeated in the Western Conference Finals last season, the Silver Stars, still features a couple familiar faces on the bench. Olaf Lange, Liberty's women's basketball associate head coach for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, and his wife, Sandy Brondello, are both assistants under head coach Dan Hughes.

San Antonio will begin the 2008 season on the road, traveling to Sacramento for a 10 p.m. contest on Saturday. The Silver Stars' home opener, slated for May 20, will be a playoff rematch against Phoenix.
The WNBA schedule looks a bit different this season, due to the Summer Olympics. Since so many of the league's players will be competing in the Olympics, the WNBA will take a month off between July 28 and Aug. 27. As a result, the playoffs will not start until Sept. 18 and the WNBA Finals are not set to tip off until Oct. 1.

Speaking of the Olympics, Feenstra is a member of the U.S. Women's Senior National Team and will be under consideration to represent the United States in Beijing. The Olympic women's basketball tournament will begin Aug. 9. The U.S. has been placed in Group B with host China, Mali, New Zealand, and two yet-to-be determined qualifiers.