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WNBA free agency: Angel McCoughtry, former St. Frances star, headed to Aces; Kristi Toliver returns to Sparks

USA Women's National Team forward Angel McCoughtry smiles a she comes off the court during an exhibition game against Louisville Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Louisville, Ky.
USA Women's National Team forward Angel McCoughtry smiles a she comes off the court during an exhibition game against Louisville Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Louisville, Ky.(Wade Payne/AP)

Angel McCoughtry is headed to Las Vegas and Kristi Toliver is going back to Los Angeles on the first day that WNBA free agents can sign with new teams.

“Viva Las Vegas, baby!” McCoughtry, a former star at St. Frances, said before heading back to Russia, where she plays during the WNBA offseason for Dynamo Kursk.

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“I am truly honored for the opportunity to continue my career and make my return to the WNBA with the Las Vegas Aces. I can't wait to get to know the fans and the community, and bond with my new teammates. It is truly a blessing to continue playing the game that I love and to help make history in this amazing organization.”

Toliver is headed back to Los Angeles the team confirmed to the Associated Press after she spent the past few seasons in Washington and led the Mystics to their first WNBA championship. Toliver, who won a national championship at Maryland in 2006, helped the Sparks win the title in 2016. She averaged 13 points and six assists last season for the Mystics.

McCoughtry spent her entire career in Atlanta with the Dream after getting drafted by them with the No. 1 pick in 2009. She averaged 19.1 points in her career. McCoughtry only appeared in one game last season while recovering from a knee injury.

“Angel was a primary target for us during free agency,” Aces coach and Bill Laimbeer said. “She is an elite level scorer who loves to attack the basket, and is also one of the best defenders in the league. When she steps on the court, we immediately become a stronger team on both ends of the floor out on the perimeter.

“Angel knows the kind of culture we are building here with our core group, and her addition moves us another step closer to our goal of bringing a championship to the city of Las Vegas.”

McCoughtry led the league in scoring in 2012 and 2013, Atlanta announced last month that the team would allow its star to explore free agency this offseason.

In other moves Monday, the Los Angeles Sparks traded Kalani Brown to the Dream for Brittney Sykes and Marie Gulich.

“We're excited to add two more talented players to our roster in Brittney Sykes and Marie Gulich,” Sparks managing partner and governor Eric Holoman said. “Brittney is an athletic young guard who puts pressure on the defense, gets to the free-throw line and takes pride on the defensive end. Marie gives our frontcourt additional rim protection and rebounding.”

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Seattle acquired Morgan Tuck and the No. 11 pick from the Connecticut Sun for the No. 7 pick in the draft.

“We are thrilled to welcome Morgan to Seattle Storm basketball,” Storm CEO and general manager Alisha Valavanis said. “Morgan is an elite competitor with a championship pedigree. She adds a versatility that we believe will complement our team and our style of play.”

New York signed Layshia Clarendon.

DeWanna Bonner is the top free agent who potentially could still change teams. Other top unrestricted free agents who are expected to re-sign with their current teams include Sue Bird (Seattle), Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman (Washington), Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley (Chicago).

Players that re-sign with their current teams can make a maximum of $215,000 with the new CBA that was ratified last month. If they go to a new team they can make $185,000.

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