ATLANTA -- Natasha Howard had 19 points and 14 rebounds, Jordin Canada added 12 points and eight assists, and the Seattle Storm beat the Atlanta Dream 82-66 on Friday night.
Alysha Clark had 11 points and Mercedes Russell and Jewell Loyd each scored 10 for Seattle. The defending WNBA champion Storm continue to be without reigning MVP Breanna Stewart (out for the season due to an Achilles injury), 11-time all-star Sue Bird (out indefinitely after arthroscopic surgery Thursday on her right knee) and head coach Dan Hughes (on medical leave after having a cancerous tumor removed from his digestive tract on May 14).
Howard hit two free throws before Canada scored back-to-back baskets to spark a 16-4 run that gave Seattle a 25-12 lead with six minutes left in the second quarter and the Dream (1-1) trailed by double figures the rest of the way.
Brittney Sykes led Atlanta with 12 points. The Dream shot just 32.9 percent (24 of 73) from the field, including 6 of 23 (26.1 percent) from 3-point range.
The Storm had 23 assists and 30 made field goals.
Taurasi medically cleared, must serve suspension
Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi has been medically cleared to return from a lingering back issue, but she must serve a one-game suspension before playing.
Perhaps returning home to Staples Center will be what the Los Angeles Sparks need to halt their current rough patch.
Both the Las Vegas Aces and Phoenix Mercury will be at full strength Tuesday night in a game critical to their specific playoff ambitions as All-Stars A'ja Wilson and Brittney Griner are back in the fold for their respective teams.