Former Kentucky star Rhyne Howard posts double-double in 2023 WNBA opener

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Former University of Kentucky star and reigning rookie of the year Rhyne Howard put up some big numbers in the first game of her second WNBA season Saturday but came up short of a victory.

Howard, an All-America performer at Kentucky who was the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s WNBA Draft, scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Atlanta’s season opener in Arlington, Texas, but the Dream lost to the Dallas Wings 85-78.

Howard made only eight of 24 shots from the field, including four of 12 from three-point range. She did not shoot a free throw in the loss and battled foul trouble throughout, finishing with five.

Cheyenne Parker scored 18 points, former Louisville standout Asia Durr 12 and Allisha Gray 10 for the Dream, who finished 10th in the 12-team WNBA with a record of 14-22 last season.

Arike Ogunbowale scored 27, Satou Sabally 25 and Natasha Howard 20 to lead the Wings, who finished sixth last season at 18-18 and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Rhyne Howard was named 2022 Rookie of the Year by the WNBA and by The Associated Press after averaging 16.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.59 steals per game.

Atlanta returns to action Tuesday night when it visits Minnesota. The Dream play their home opener May 28 against Indiana.