Dream clinch their first WNBA playoff spot since 2018

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Allisha Gray scored 18 points, Monique Billings set season-highs with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and the Dream beat the Seattle Storm 79-68 on Wednesday night in College Park to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2018.

The Dream (18-20) are tied with Washington for sixth in the WNBA standings. The Dream host the Mystics on Friday before closing the season against fourth-place Dallas. The Dream have beaten Washington in two of three matchups this season.

Cheyenne Parker added 17 points and Rhyne Howard scored 10 for the Dream.

Atlanta trailed 36-33 before closing the first half on a 14-4 run to lead 47-40 at the break. Gray and Parker each made 5 of 8 shots in the first half to help the Dream shoot 54% from the field.

Aari McDonald made a long 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to extend the Dream’s lead to 65-52 with 23.7 seconds left in the third quarter. Billings completed a three-point play for a 72-62 lead midway through the fourth, and Rhyne Howard made the Dream’s third 3-pointer of the game with 2:55 remaining for a 12-point lead.

Jewell Loyd led Seattle (11-27) with 26 points on 8-of-25 shooting. Sami Whitcomb added 13 points and Ezi Magbegor had 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.