The Atlanta Dream announced Tuesday that it has signed veteran free agent center Ruth Riley, a former WNBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist. Riley will join the first-place Dream (6-1) to fill the roster spot vacated by Sancho Lyttle, who has been temporarily suspended while competing for the Spanish National Team in France.
Riley is a 12-year veteran who most recently played for the Chicago Sky during the 2012 season. A two-time WNBA Champion with Detroit (2003, 2006), Riley has averaged 6.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over 371 games during her career.
“I’m extremely excited to join the Dream,” said Riley. “They are off to great start and it’s awesome to be joining such a good team. I’ve been blessed to be on a few championship teams in the past, and I look forward to bringing that experience to Atlanta. I hope to help bring a championship to the Dream as well.”
“Ruth is a veteran with tremendous leadership qualities – both on and off the floor – that will blend in well with the talented team that we have,” said head coach and general manager Fred Williams. “She’s a post player that has the ability to shoot from the outside, is a strong rebounder and can alter shots. She brings a wealth of basketball knowledge to our team, and is also a great ambassador for the league, having been all over the world giving back through her foundation.”
Riley was named a WNBA All-Star during the 2005 season, when she averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game for Detroit. She had averaged a career-best 11.1 points and 5.9 rebounds the previous season, and in 2003, she was named the WNBA Finals MVP after averaging 14.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 blocks against Los Angeles.
Riley began her career with the Miami Sol in 2001, and played there for two seasons before spending the next four seasons (2003-06) in Detroit, helping the Shock to four straight playoff appearances. She then spent five seasons (2007-11) in San Antonio, making five more playoff appearances, before spending the 2012 season with the Sky.
Riley was a two-time First Team All-American at Notre Dame and led the Irish to the 2001 National Championship after winning the Naismith Award and Associated Press Player of the Year Award that season. In 2004, she helped Team USA win an Olympic Gold Medal in Athens, Greece.
In addition to her basketball skills, Riley has won several awards for her community service efforts, including the WNBA’s Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award in 2011 and the Rotary Club of Tulsa’s Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award in 2010.