Maya Caldwell signed a hardship contract Monday with the injury-riddled Atlanta Dream, and the former Georgia standout scored 18 points in her WNBA debut to lead her team to an 80-75 win over the Dallas Wings on Tuesday in College Park, Ga.
Caldwell, who started in place of Nia Coffey (knee), made 4 of 5 3-point attempts and shot 7 of 11 overall from the field. She also had four assists and two steals.
She was a 2021 third-round draft pick by the Indiana Fever, who waived her during the preseason. She participated in Atlanta’s training camp this year and was waived.
Kristy Wallace (concussion protocol), Erica Wheeler (foot) and Kia Vaughn (COVID protocol) also were out for the Dream.
Atlanta (8-8) snapped a four-game losing streak — all occurring on the road — and won its first game with second-year player Aari McDonald as the starting point guard.
McDonald, who has started the last four games after Wheeler was injured against the Seattle Storm on June 7, finished with 15 points and five assists.
Atlanta’s Rhyne Howard had 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds, and Cheyenne Parker added 14 points and seven boards.
Allisha Gray put up 18 points and six rebounds for Dallas (8-9). Arike Ogunbowale and Teaira McCowan each added 14 points.
Caldwell’s driving layup with 3:10 left put the Dream ahead 74-71.
McDonald sank a one-hand floater in the lane to increase the lead to 77-72 with 1:24 remaining, and her two free throws with 37.4 seconds left gave Atlanta a 79-72 lead.
Dallas’ Marina Mabrey hit a 3-pointer with 29.8 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to four. After Howard made one of two free throws to put Atlanta ahead 80-75 with 23.8 seconds to go, Mabrey’s 3-point attempt was off the mark with 13.6 seconds left.
Howard corralled Mabry’s miss, and the Dream dribbled out the clock.
Atlanta took a 51-40 lead into halftime behind Caldwell’s 10 points.
The Dream led 67-56 after a layup by McDonald with 4:19 left in the third quarter, but they went on a scoring drought thereafter.
Atlanta did not score again until AD Durr made a free throw with 8:47 remaining to give the Dream a 68-66 lead.
The Dream’s field-goal drought of 7:20 ended on Parker’s jumper in the lane that put Atlanta ahead 70-68.
Dallas’ Satou Sabally missed her fourth game in a row due to a knee injury.
–Field Level Media