Howard, who played a team-high 35 minutes and change, also finished with 4 assists, 4 blocks, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and just 1 turnover. All four of her makes from the field came from beyond the 3-point arc, where she took 12 of her 15 shots. Though she misfired on all three attempts from inside the arc, she got to the free throw line multiple times, going 4-for-5.
"She was solid. I thought she was solid defensively for sure," said Dream coach Tanisha Wright, who tallied her first win as a WNBA head coach. "Offensively, Rhyne is capable of a lot more. She took 12 3s, which we're fine with her taking 3s, but she has a lot more in her tool bag that she can tap into and use, so we want to continue to challenge her to look for those things."
A three-time Associated Press First Team All-American at Kentucky, Howard became the first player in league history to register both four blocks and four made 3s in their WNBA debut, as well as the fourth to score at least 15 points and record four blocks in their first game, joining good company in Natasha Howard (2014), Elena Delle Donne (2013) and Brittney Griner (2013).
Howard's defense helped the Dream hold Dallas to under 60 points scoring for the first time since 2011.
"Rhyne does a good job of being a disrupter right now," Wright said. "She gets her hands on a lot of balls, different things like that. Her position on defense, her help-side defense, those are all areas where we challenge Ryan to be solid and to be high-level and I think tonight, she did a good job of that."
The Dream, who have started fresh over the last year-plus with new ownership, a new general manager and a new coaching staff, traded up two spots to select Howard in last month's draft.
Howard scored half of her points in the first quarter, when she hit two of her first four 3-point attempts to help the Dream build an early 29-11 advantage. Though the Wings stormed back to close the gap in the second, Atlanta held firm on its edge to maintain the lead and come out with the win.
With Howard in tow, the Dream are hoping to improve on their 8-24 mark from last season.
"I would say Rhyne is just really poised," teammate Monique Billings said. "She just looks like a pro from the jump, even in training camp. She looks like she's been here before. She doesn't really get fazed or bothered. She's just very even-keeled. I like that about her a lot."