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No. 1 draft pick Howard scores 21 points to propel Dream past Sparks in home opener

Rookie Rhyne Howard scored 21 points, including five of Atlanta’s 13 3-pointers, and the Dream held off the visiting Los Angeles Sparks 77-75 on Wednesday night.

Howard made a 3-pointer in the corner with 3:07 left in the fourth quarter for a seven-point lead, but Atlanta did not score again. The No. 1 pick in the draft was called for a charge with 16.3 seconds left for Atlanta’s third straight possession with a turnover.

After a timeout, Los Angeles had two chances in the closing seconds, but Chiney Ogwumike missed a contested layup in the paint and Nneka Ogwumike was off on a jumper at the buzzer.

Howard also grabbed eight rebounds. Megan Walker added 11 points, and Kristy Wallace and Cheyenne Parker each had 10 points for Atlanta (2-0).

Atlanta led 40-39 at halftime as both teams shot under 38% from the field. Jordin Canada led Los Angeles with 12 points and Howard had 10.

Canada scored 19 points for Los Angeles (2-1). Nneka Ogwumike had 17 points and 15 rebounds for her 80th career double-double and Liz Cambage scored 16 points.

Sky defeat Liberty

Dana Evans scored 15 points, Rebekah Gardner added 14 and the Chicago Sky cruised past the visiting New York Liberty 83-50 on Wednesday night.

Chicago led 36-17 at halftime after holding New York to 20% shooting, including 1 of 12 from 3-point range. It was the lowest point total in a half since Connecticut had 15 on Sept. 1, 2015.

The Sky opened the third quarter on a 13-4 run to take a 28-point lead at 49-21, and New York reached 50 points on Jocelyn Willoughby’s layup with 20.2 seconds left in the fourth.

Candace Parker added 11 points and Emma Meesseman scored 10 for Chicago (1-1). Parker and Meesseman each had six rebounds and four assists.

Chicago was 10 of 22 from 3-point range, with three apiece from Evans and Parker, while New York was just 20 of 60 from the field.

Han Xu, the tallest player in the WNBA at 6-foot-10, scored 10 points for New York (1-1). Natasha Howard and Betnijah Laney each scored eight points, and Stefanie Dolson scored six against her former team. Sabrina Ionescu was held to two points.



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