ATLANTA, GA (April 11, 2022) – The Atlanta Dream selected Rhyne Howard (pronounced like Ryan) with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm® Monday evening.
“Rhyne is a versatile wing who can score the ball in a variety of ways,” said general manager Dan Padover. “Her athleticism and basketball IQ will be the backbone of her future success in this league. She’s a great kid from nearby and we think she will be a key piece for the future of this basketball team.”
The 6-2 guard made history Monday night as Kentucky’s first player ever drafted No. 1 overall by a WNBA franchise. She leaves Lexington as the program’s all-time top three-point shooter and a two-time SEC Player of the Year. The 21-year-old from Cleveland, Tenn. started in 114 games over the course of her four-year career with the Wildcats. She totaled 2,290 career points and is one of only nine players in women’s basketball history to be named to the Associated Press First Team three times.
She finished the 2021-22 season as the only player in the nation with over 600+ points, 200+ rebounds, 100+ assists, 70+ steals and 35+ blocks. During her college career, Howard averaged 20.1 points (20.5 in 31 games during the 2021-22 season alone), 6.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 33 minutes per game during her career.
“Rhyne is a special talent with a multi-faceted skillset, she’s going to be a great addition to our team,” said head coach Tanisha Wright. “She has a quiet competitiveness that I love, and I think the level of play in our league will bring something special out of her which I’m really excited to see.”
The Dream’s only ever first overall selection, Angel McCoughtry, went on to become Atlanta’s franchise player, earning five WNBA All-Star appearances, seven WNBA All-Defensive First Team nominations, and two All-WNBA First Team nods while leading the Dream to three WNBA Finals appearances (2010, 2011, 2013).
The Atlanta Dream acquired the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft from Washington, in exchange for their 2022 No. 3 overall pick and 2022 No. 14 pick (second round) to the Mystics. Washington also received the right to swap its own 2023 first round pick with the 2023 first round pick Atlanta acquired from Los Angeles earlier this year (received along with Erica Wheeler).
Hillmon was selected 15th overall out of Michigan, making her the highest-drafted player in program history and the Wolverines’ first player drafted to the WNBA since 2005. The 6-2 forward is the program’s first ever All-American, leading the Wolverines (25-7) to their first Elite Eight just a year after a run to the Sweet 16.
She is the first Michigan basketball player – male or female – in school history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds, finishing with 2,150 points and 1,042 rebounds. Hillmon recorded a double-double in each of the team’s four games in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, finishing her career with 52 total.
The Atlanta Dream is a professional women’s basketball team based in Atlanta, GA that strives to build a place where our team, our fans and our city come together to represent the community we seek to serve. We enter our 15th year in 2022 with new ownership, new leadership, and a commitment to building the best franchise in the WNBA. We celebrate diversity, represent Atlanta, reward innovation and imagination, and aim to empower women both on and off the court. The team currently plays home games at the Gateway Center Arena @ College Park and has qualified for the WNBA Playoffs in nine of its first 14 seasons. To learn more about the Dream and purchase 2022 season tickets, mini plans and single game tickets, please visit www.dreamelitemembership.com or call 877-977-7729.