For the first time since 2018, the Atlanta Dream will be playing playoff basketball.
By Zeke Palermo
The Atlanta Dream broke its four-season playoff drought Wednesday night with a 79-68 win over the visiting Seattle Storm.
Atlanta’s win also gave the Dream the edge in the season series against the Storm, which will miss the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
“We’re excited,” said Dream head coach Tanisha Wright. “We have a lot of energy around the franchise right now, and so for us to be able to solidify that by getting back into the postseason… it’s important.”
Atlanta’s last playoff appearance was in 2018 when it lost in the semi-finals to the Washington Mystics.
All-Stars ran the show for both Seattle and Atlanta. The Storm’s Jewell Loyd, in the midst of a McGwire-Sosa-esque race for the most points in a WNBA season with Breanna Stewart, scored 26. Allisha Gray and Cheyenne Parker scored 18 and 17 respectively for Atlanta.
Monique Billings also scored 15 for the Dream and grabbed a season-best 14 rebounds. Billings, a rookie in 2018, is the only player from the Dream’s 2018 playoff team still in Atlanta.
“That rookie season we were so close,” said Billings. “So I know that it just comes down to details.”
The Dream and Storm were mostly inseparable for most of the first half, but a 14-4 run in the final three minutes of the second quarter gave Atlanta a 47-40 lead that they would not lose the rest of the game.
“In that second quarter, every timeout, we were just reminding each other what we’re really doing and why we’re doing it,” said Parker.
That lead would balloon to as high as 14 in the second half.
Atlanta, now 18-20, goes on the road for its penultimate game of the season. It plays the Washington Mystics on Friday, Sept. 8 and then comes back to College Park to finish the season against Dallas on Sunday, Sept. 10.
— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) September 6, 2023
The Dream started a lineup of Danielle Robinson, Allisha Gray, Rhyne Howard, Monique Billings, and Cheyenne Parker for a fourth consecutive game.
Atlanta’s Nia Coffey missed her seventh straight game with a left-hand injury. She is not expected to return this season.
Rhyne Howard left the game in the third quarter. She received help coming off the court with a limp, but walked to the locker room under her own weight and returned to the game later in the third.
— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) September 6, 2023
Seattle’s Gabby Williams missed her tenth straight game with a left foot injury. She is not expected to return this season.