Thornton scores career-high 21, Wings beat Dream 81-68

July 31, 2022 GMT

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — Kayla Thornton scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting, Teaira McCowan added 14 points and 14 rebounds and the Dallas Wings beat Atlanta 81-68 Saturday night.

Arike Ogunbowale added 21 points, eight assists and five steals for the Wings.

Dallas (13-16) moved into a tie with the Phoenix Mercury for sixth in the WNBA standings with about two weeks left in the regular season. Atlanta (12-18), among six teams battling for the final three playoff spots, is ninth, a game behind the Los Angeles Sparks (12-16) for the eighth and final postseason berth and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Minnesota Lynx (11-19).

The Wings avoided a season sweep against Atlanta, which won the first two games — a 66-59 road victory on May 7, and an 80-75 win at home on June 21.

Tiffany Hayes left the game after an apparent ankle injury early in the second quarter and did not return for the depleted Dream. The 32-year-old guard, who missed the first 19 games of the season due to overseas commitments and then recovery from a knee injury, went into the game averaging a career-high tying 17.2 points in 10 games this season.

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Forwards Monique Billings (ankle) and Nia Coffey (knee), as well as guard AD Durr also did not play for Atlanta. The Dream announced Friday that Durr, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft who the Dream acquired last month via trade with the New York Liberty, would miss the rest of the season in preparation for hip surgery. Durr, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year at Louisville, has played 43 career WNBA games due injury and COVID-related issues. The 5-foot-10 guard averaged 10.7 points in 15 games for Atlanta this season.

Rhyne Howard led Atlanta with 22 points, all in the first three quarters. Aari McDonald scored 13 points and Cheyenne Parker 12.

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