July 10, 2023 

Red-hot Rhyne Howard-led Dream extend win streak to five games

Howard scores 30 or more points for the second time this season

On Sunday, Rhyne Howard and the Atlanta Dream edged past the Chicago Sky 88-77, extending their win streak to five games – the team’s longest since August 2018.

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Atlanta star Howard found her groove early, scoring a driving layup and connecting with All-Star center Cheyenne Parker out of a ball screen for a mid-range jumper in the opening minutes. 

Just as Howard typically operates, she played to her own tempo by finding gaps within the defense, bouncing off defenders, and remaining confident with her jumper to exhibit the complete offensive package.

To close the third quarter, Howard knocked down a spot-up movement 3-pointer to give Atlanta the lead, which, it never lost again.

Howard finished with a game-high 32 points, six rebounds, four assists, and four steals on 54.5% shooting from the field and 44.4% from beyond the arc. It was her second game with 30 or more points this season.

“Rhyne’s pretty special, and I said it when I coached against her in college. I warned my team that she was going to be a No. 1 draft pick and it was true,” head coach Tanisha Wright on Howard’s talent. “She’s just special, look at her ability to score from all over the floor… and she’s very smooth with what she does.”

Howard recorded 29 points, seven rebounds, four steals, and two assists against Charlotte and her future head coach, Wright, an assistant for the 49ers, on Dec. 4, 2019.

Additionally, Parker did her work early, establishing post position on Chicago’s Alanna Smith and Elizabeth Williams, while mixing in face-up scoring, mid-range operation, and aggressive play on second-chance opportunities.

On the evening, Parker added 18 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks on 8-of-12 shooting from the field.

Parker has recorded at least 14 points and 10 rebounds in three-straight games, joining Erika de Souza (2x) as the only players in Dream franchise history to reach this mark.

“Cheyenne [Parker] should have a double-double every night, she’s that good,” Wright told the media following Sunday’s road victory. “We have high standards for CP and we know exactly what she’s capable of doing. She shows up every day, puts the work in, and is super coachable, like, I’m on her consistently and she takes it.”

Monique Billings, Nia Coffey, and Naz Hillmon also recorded a combined 16 rebounds, contributing to the Dream’s +14 differential on the boards and a bevy of second-chance opportunities via its eight offensive rebounds.

Furthermore, Atlanta’s 55.7% rebound rate against the Sky is the team’s third-highest mark on the season and the third-straight game with a 53 percent rebound rate.

“It was a lot of heart and effort and we just wanted to show that we could be consistent with it,” Coffey said.

With the Dream’s league-best five-straight wins, it ties the Washington Mystics (10-8) for the fourth-best record in the WNBA with one game remaining until the All-Star break.

Atlanta will return home for its first matchup of the season against the young, rebuilding Seattle Storm on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET.

A major storyline to watch ahead of Wednesday’s game is the status of perennial All-Star guard Jewell Loyd who left Saturday’s 80-76 loss against New York with a left ankle sprain. The 29-year-old is probable for Tuesday’s road game at Washington, according to the team.

Loyd is averaging 13.7 points and 2.5 assists in 21 career games against the Dream – the lowest marks for Loyd among WNBA opponents.

Written by Hunter Cruse

Hunter Cruse covers the Atlanta Dream and the WNBA Draft for The Next.

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