Atlanta Dream guard Rhyne Howard set records for most points and 3-pointers in a WNBA playoff debut game Friday, but the Dallas Wings rallied from a 20-point deficit to win 94-82 in Game 1 of their first-round series.
Howard scored 36 points and made eight 3-pointers to enter the record books. Her 19 first-quarter points tied a playoff record for most points in a quarter.
Howard was last season's No. 1 draft pick and the WNBA Rookie of the Year, but the Dream missed the playoffs by one game. She said that was on her mind as she took the court for her first playoff game Friday at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.
"I'm not here to break records. I'm here to win," Howard said. "It was about going out and setting the tone, not only for myself, but for my teammates. I have to come out aggressive, looking for shots."
Howard's night was marred by the Wings' comeback, which was the biggest in the WNBA playoffs since 2014 and tied for the third-largest in WNBA postseason history. It was also the first time in playoff history a team trailed by 20 or more points and came back to win by 10 or more.
The Wings were led by Satou Sabally, whose 32 points were the most in franchise playoff history, breaking the record of 30 by Deanna Nolan in 2007 when the team was still the Detroit Shock.
"I felt really calm, like, this is just temporary," Sabally said of the Wings' big deficit. "I knew we were going to come back. I think if you would have seen that last year, we might have had our heads down a little bit."
It was the fifth time in WNBA playoff history that opposing players had 30-plus points in a game. Howard and Sabally are two of the WNBA's young stars: Howard is 23, and Sabally, the No. 2 draft pick in 2020, is 25.
"When you talk about the growth of the league, those are two individuals that people should get excited about," Dallas coach Latricia Trammell said.
At 23 years, 139 days, Howard also became the youngest player to score at least 30 points in a playoff game. She edged former Seattle Storm star Lauren Jackson, who was 23 years, 143 days old when she scored 31 points in a 2004 playoff game.
Only two other players besides Howard have had at least eight 3-pointers in a playoff game: Kristi Toliver (nine) in 2017 with the Washington Mystics and Diana Taurasi (eight) in 2021 with the Phoenix Mercury.
Another former No. 1 pick, New York's Sabrina Ionescu, hit seven 3-pointers in the Liberty's Game 1 victory over Washington on Friday. Along with Howard, it's the first time in WNBA playoff history that two players made at least seven 3-pointers on the same day.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.