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Rhyne Howard powers Dream past Wings, 66-59

Sep 7, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; The WNBA logo on a ball during the fourth quarter of game one of the WNBA finals between the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics at KeyArena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Rhyne Howard scored a team-high 16 points and Monique Billings had 14 rebounds in the Atlanta Dream’s 66-59 win Saturday over the host Dallas Wings in the season opener for both teams.

Howard, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, also recorded four assists, four blocked shots and two steals.

Cheyenne Parker had 10 points and 10 rebounds, Nia Coffey finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, and Erica Wheeler had 11 points for Atlanta.

Dallas reserve Marina Mabrey had 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field, 3 of 7 from 3-point range.

Mabrey’s 3-pointer with 5:21 left was part of a 9-0 run that cut Atlanta’s lead to 61-55. Mabrey made a layup with 2:32 remaining that narrowed the lead to 63-59.

Dallas did not score thereafter and Wheeler’s 3-pointer with 1:47 left closed the scoring.

Howard started strong with eight points, three assists, two rebounds, a steal, a block and no turnovers after the first quarter. She scored or assisted on 15 of the Dream’s 29 points in the quarter.

After leading 29-11 going into the second quarter, the Dream took their biggest lead of the game, 33-13, with 7:40 remaining until halftime.

Dallas then went on a 15-0 run fueled by Mabrey’s 10 points, including two 3-pointers, to cut the lead to 33-28 with 3:06 remaining in the half.

The Dream were 0-for-9 from the field with three turnovers in that stretch before Parker made a driving layup to give Atlanta a 35-28 lead.

Dallas outscored Atlanta 24-10 in the second quarter and trailed 39-35 at halftime.

Howard had only two points in the second quarter while Mabrey had 12 points.

Mabrey led the Wings with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, 2 of 4 from 3-point range, in the first half.

Dallas cut the lead to 41-39 with 7:04 left in the third quarter but Howard made two 3-pointers in a 10-1 run.

Her second 3-pointer in that stretch put Atlanta ahead 51-40 with 4:22 left in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media