The WNBA Atlanta Dream announced Tuesday that the team has re-signed All-Star center Erika de Souza. Per team policy, contract terms were not disclosed.
"Erika de Souza is one of the best post players in the world and continues to be a cornerstone of the Atlanta Dream organization through her elite level of play, passion for the game, and consistent leadership," said Dream President and General Manager Angela Taylor. "She has meant so much to the team’s success, the fans, and the Atlanta community over the course of her seven seasons, so we are thrilled that she committed to helping the Dream bring a WNBA Championship to Atlanta."
"I’m excited to have Erika back with the Dream," said head coach Michael Cooper. "She is one of the top post players in the world and a leader on our team. I’m looking forward to continuing to work together with her towards our goal of winning a championship."
The six-foot, five-inch de Souza has been with the Dream since the team’s initial season in 2008, and is the team’s all-time leader in games played (194), rebounds (1,657), blocked shots (281), field goal percentage (.540) and double-doubles (67). For her career, she has averaged 10.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in nine seasons in the WNBA.
"I’m very happy to be able to continue my career with the Atlanta Dream," said de Souza. "I’ve been part of the Dream since the team’s first season and Atlanta has become my second home. I’m looking forward to getting back on the court with Coach Cooper, the rest of the staff and my teammates, and I’m committed to helping bring a championship to Atlanta."
De Souza was named to her third All-Star team in 2014, and finished the season averaging a career-high 13.8 points while adding 8.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. She ranked fourth in the WNBA in blocks, sixth in rebounds and field goal percentage (.545) and 15th in scoring, and her nine double-doubles was tied for seventh most in the league.
De Souza earned her first Eastern Conference Player of the Week award last season, and scored in double figures 24 times in her 33 games played with six games of 20 or more points. She also shot a career-best 70.6 percent from the free throw line.
In each of the last six seasons, de Souza has averaged at least 11.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. Her career field goal percentage of .538 ranks fourth in WNBA history among players with at least 1,000 career field goal attempts.
A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, de Souza has represented her home country in the 2004 and 2012 Olympics. She averaged team bests of 16.2 points and 8.8 rebounds at the 2012 Games, ranking second in rebounding and tied for second in scoring among all players during pool play.