Atlanta Locked In Fifth Seed For Playoffs


Danielle Robinson #3 of the Atlanta Dream goes to the basket during the game on September 10, 2023 at Gateway Center Arena in College Park, Georgia. Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)


Atlanta Dream Fall To Dallas Wings In Season Finale

By: Jameelah Johnson

The Atlanta Dream (19-21) entered their regular season finale the same way they opened the season, facing the Dallas Wings (22-18). Each team already secured a spot in the playoffs, with Dallas locking in the number four seed prior to the game.  

“Not the way you want to end the season, but the season is over,” Dream’s head coach Tanisha Wright expressed following the loss. “Can’t dwell on it. Have to get ready for the playoffs and so that’s what we’re going to focus on now.”


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Atlanta’s Rhyne Howard finished with 19 points and 7 assists in the loss. Dallas’ Arike Ogunbowale had 32 points and 6 assists. The Wings’ length and ability to slow down the game helped them find success against the usually fast-paced Atlanta Dream.

Both teams jumped out to an energetic start. While Dallas took an early first quarter lead, Atlanta went on two runs to tie it. When the Dream controlled the pace, they were able to take advantage and score in the paint. There were at least four lead changes, and the game was tied twice early. Dallas began to establish their big play behind Kalani Brown’s contribution off the bench in the second quarter where she scored 8 of her 10 total points. 

Although Howard put up 9 points in the third quarter, Dallas outscored Atlanta 22-19. The Dream struggled to score in the final period to offset Ogunbowale’s 16 points and the Wings’ growing lead. Dallas won 94-77.     

Atlanta announced their 12th sellout to end the regular season. They finished the 2023 season as the WNBA leaders in sellouts. The Dream’s Cheyenne Parker scored 13 points, reaching the threshold of 600 points scored in the season. She joined her teammates Allisha Gray (649) and Rhyne Howard (681) to become the third trio in WNBA history to have three different players to score 600-plus points in a season.

The Dream hit the road to face the Wings for Game 1 of Round 1 of the playoffs on Friday, September 15th at 9:30pm ET on ESPN2.

Lineup notes: 

ATL: AD Durr out due to right knee, Nia Coffey out due to hand. 

Starters: Danielle Robinson, Allisha Gray, Rhyne Howard, Monique Billings, Cheyenne Parker 

DAL: Diamond DeSheilds out due to knee, Lou Lopez Senechal out due to knee. 

Starters: Veronica Burton, Arike Ogunbowale, Satou Sabally, Natasha Howard, Teaira McCowan 

Game Highlights: 

Reminiscent of the contest against Washington, the game started with Howard gaining just enough space from her defender to knock down the catch and shoot three from the Gray assist.


With Gray pushing the pace and Billings following in quick pursuit, Billings was rewarded with the drop-off pass for an easy transition two. 

Atlanta’s Naz Hillmon played big by grabbing the offensive board amongst a crowd of Dallas players and was able to get the putback to end the quarter. 

Billings capitalized on her quickness to get around her defender for the layup. 

Parker scored 6 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter, while also leading the break after coming up with a steal.  

Postgame Sounds: 

Dream head coach Tanisha Wright on shots not falling for Atlanta: “I think their (Dallas’) length probably is a factor in that. They’re aggressive in terms of on the ball but we gotta be able to handle that. I mean, at the end of the day that’s who we gotta go through, you know what I mean. We gotta figure out a way to not allow it to bother us. Plain and simple, to get easier things. But I think our pace on the offensive end really attributed to some of that.”

Monique Billings on how to combat Dallas’ length: “With players who are bigger than you, you have to try to stop them early. You can’t let them bury you in the paint. So that’ll be a focus for us. Looking to help off of our guards or players we can dig off of, that’s gonna be a big factor, too.”


Atlanta: 38.2% (26-of-68 FG) from the field  

Dallas: 50% (33-of-66 FG) from the field

Atlanta: 19-of-26 from the line 

Dallas: 23-of-23 from the line

Atlanta: 29 rebounds (seven offensive) 

Dallas: 44 rebounds (six offensive)


Rhyne Howard: 19 points (7-17 FG, 2-2 FT), 7 assists, 4 rebounds; Allisha Gray: 13 points (3-10 FG, 6-8 FT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block


Arike Ogunbowale: 32 points (9-18 FG, 10-10 FT), 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals; Natasha Howard: 15 points (5-11 FG, 5-5 FT), 9 rebounds, 4 assists