Rookie sensation Rhyne Howard scored 21 points in her home debut, as the Atlanta Dream beat the visiting Los Angeles Sparks 77-75 on Wednesday night.
Howard - selected No. 1 overall out of Kentucky in this year's WNBA Draft - also had eight rebounds, a block, a steal and an assist. The victory was also the first at home for Tanisha Wright, first-year coach of the Dream.
Jordin Canada had 19 points, six rebounds and three assists to lead the Sparks, who suffered their first loss of the season. Nneka Ogwumike added 17 points and 15 boards for LA.
Liz Cambage scored 16 points, but the 6-foot-9 center was limited to just two rebounds as the Dream largely kept her away from the glass. Atlanta won the rebounding battle 39-36.
Canada and Howard went head-to-head near the end of the second quarter, exchanging four consecutive 3-pointers. The Sparks trailed by just one point at halftime, largely due to Canada's effort of 10 points, two rebounds and an assist in the second period.
The Dream pulled away early in the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead, their largest of the game. LA cut the deficit to two points with 27.8 seconds to play.
Atlanta then had the chance to push the lead to two possessions, but Howard was whistled for a charge. Alas, the Sparks then missed two shots and Howard secured the rebound, securing a Dream win.
Chennedy Carter's return to Atlanta didn't go so well. The former fourth overall pick by the Dream shot 0-of-7 from the floor and didn't score a single point for LA in 14 minutes off the bench.
Three other Dream players scored in double-digits. Megan Walker had 11 points, while Kristy Wallace and Cheyenne Parker each had 10. Nia Coffey and Monique Billings each grabbed eight boards.
--Field Level Media