Dream

Dreams Come True: Rhyne Howard’s All-Star Weekend

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When Rhyne Howard held her All-Star dream, it was but the first rest towards a playoff awakening.

Last weekend marked one of the most exciting WNBA All-Star performances ever. With over 9,000 fans in attendance for Sunday’s game and the hometown kids, Candace Parker and Allie Quigley, shining brightly in their city, Chicago should have last weekend on repeat. But Atlanta made a memorable guest appearance. One cannot fully express how impressive rookie¬†Howard’s season has been. Not to mention that she participated in all three events: skills challenge, three-point competition, and as a reserve on Team Wilson. So how did the superb rookie reach the game’s grandest stage?

Accolades for Days

Howard racked up her second WNBA Rookie of the Month award in June. No surprise, then, that she was selected by co-captain A’ja Wilson for Team Wilson. Fans got to see Howard shine in the three-point competition. In round one, she put up a score of 24 to tie Ariel Atkins. Although eliminated in the second round, with a score of 14, she performed with her signature smile. And yet, the fun was just beginning for the young star.

Now, in her inaugural all-star game, Howard debuted with 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists. She impressed Sue Bird, Parker, and Wilson with her weekend performance, including Sunday’s action in the All-Star Game. In her first appearance of many, Howard broke the glass ceiling and exceed the too-modest expectations of others.

Welcome Home

Even still, all good things must come to an end. The Atlanta Dream met the Chicago Sky Tuesday for a matchup that devastated the Dream. In a closely played game, Atlanta led with five minutes remaining. But unfortunately, the Dream could not close out the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately, this is not the first game where Atlanta has fallen short in the final ten minutes. So, what happens when they resume their search for success?

A healthy squad would help improve Atlanta’s troubled situation. Since the start of the season, injuries withheld the Dream from otherwise-acheivable sucess. At one point, the injury list included five players including two starters. With the addition of AD Durr and the long-awaited return of Tiffany Hayes, there has been more guard-like offensive options alongside Howard. A team that started as a rebuilding unit now plays towards closing the regular season as a cohesive unit, with the playoffs still achievable.

Slow and Steady

Should fans be concerned about the Dream’s record (10-13)? Despite how the regular season may end, supporters should be proud of the Dream’s accomplishments. Head coach Tanisha Wright repeatedly remarked that they are building something special in Atlanta. As team chemistry continues to be a priority, other teams are also making comebacks from injury and improving their performance.

The Los Angeles Sparks, Dallas Wings, and Atlanta Dream are nearly even, so what should the playoff push look like for Atlanta?

Stick to what works well, and play solid basketball for 40 minutes. The Dream possesses the offense and defensive structure to finish games. However, for some of the players who had extended minutes in lieu of injured players, fatigue may be a factor. As a result, the final minutes of the fourth quarter are critical possessions to take smart shots, stay defensively alert, and lock-in on getting out in transition.

With 13 games left in the regular season, there is no urgency to dwell on the unknown. There are still games to be played and time on the buzzer, and the Dream continues to demolish barriers with every performance.

And when you have a shining star like Rhyne Howard, the unknown is just success not quite realized yet.

About Caylen Johnson

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