WASHINGTON — On the day she was named a 2022 All-Star, Rhyne Howard and the Atlanta Dream delivered a clunker. The rookie had five points and went 0-for-7 from three-point range, and the Dream fell to the Washington Mystics, 92-74, after trailing by 27 at one point.
It wasn't all bad, though. Nearly 200 people wearing blue jackets and Zeta Phi Beta letters stuck around to greet Howard, a member of the historically Black sorority during her University of Kentucky days.
"That’s just another sisterhood outside of basketball," Howard said. "It’s great to have connections like that. Whenever anything goes right (or) goes wrong, you’re always going to have your sorority sisters."
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USA TODAY Sports caught up with Howard, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA draft, before her impromptu reunion with the Zetas.
USA TODAY: So how many people were here for you tonight?
Rhyne Howard: I didn’t know all those people were coming out here. I only asked for five or six tickets. Them being here is a surprise to me.
USAT: What was your reaction to being an All-Star?
RH: I was just really happy and super proud of myself. Definitely just glad to be a part of that in my first year.
USAT: From what I’ve read, you’re someone who sets goals. Was that one of them?
RH: Actually, that wasn’t a goal. But then when it started coming around, I was like, ‘Oh, I better make it.’ There was so much talk about it, so might as well.
USAT: What have the last few months been like?
RH: Definitely a lot of fun. So much comfort and consistency with our team. Like we’re always happy for each other, always around each other, just having a good time. So really just a lot of fun and I’m glad I could be a part of this (team).
USAT: What does Dream culture mean to you and what this organization stands for, not only on the court but off of it?
RH: On the court, it’s definitely hard work and giving all you got. And just trying to outwork everybody. Off the court, it’s a lot of good vibes and having a good time and being there for each other.
USAT: When you got to Atlanta, when did you realize the offense was going to flow through you, that a lot of the shots would go to you?
RH: I would say probably our first actual game. Everybody has goals, and my goal was to be a scorer. So then it was just like, OK making sure I take some more shots. It’s cool. My teammates know to keep me going and try to get me those looks.
USAT: What’s the key behind a good look? How do you get that?
RH: Creating space for myself or getting a good screen or making a good play.
USAT: You make that part of the game look easy.
RH: It’s just how it is.
USAT: Does it feel like more 3s compared to college?
RH: I feel like flows within the game, but I feel like I am taking more because I know I need to be a scorer and look for those types of shots.
USAT: How much did you pay attention to the pre-draft trade?
RH: I didn’t focus on it a lot but when they did trade up, people started asking me how I felt about it. That’s when I realized (it was for me). I was like ‘whatever happens, happens, so if I go number one, I go number one.’
USAT: So you don’t feel any extra pressure being a 1-1 (first overall draft pick)?
RH: (Shakes head no).
USAT: Where do you get inspiration from?
RH: Just my teammates, really. They keep me going. And I know I can’t do anything about them. The coaches, the support staff – everybody in my circle.
USAT: Biggest adjustment from the college game to the WNBA game?
RH: I would say playing against the physicality. Teams have definitely started keying on me and started roughing me up, taking me out of my game. So just learning how to adjust that within the game.
USAT: And favorite social media app right now.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rhyne Howard, WNBA All-Star, Atlanta Dream forward Q&A