Thu, 05 Oct 2023

Breanna Stewart returns to Seattle as Liberty face Storm

Field Level Media
30 May 2023, 08:19 GMT+10

Breanna Stewart will play her first game in Seattle as a visiting player when the New York Liberty battle the winless Storm on Tuesday night.

Stewart was part of two WNBA championship teams and won 2018 league MVP honors during six seasons with the Storm before leaving the club as a free agent in the offseason.

Part of the 28-year-old Stewart's decision revolved around wanting to return to her East Coast roots, but her departure also coincided with the retirement of Seattle icon Sue Bird.

Now the Storm (0-2) are in rebuilding mode while the Liberty (2-1) are expected to be a title contender.

Stewart has started strongly in New York with 78 points, the top three-game mark to open a season in franchise history. Tina Charles (71 in 2018) held the former mark.

Stewart set a Liberty record with 45 points in her second game -- it also represents her career high -- and followed up with 21 points, six rebounds, six steals, five assists and four blocked shots in Saturday's 81-65 home win over the Connecticut Sun.

Stewart said that should be the standard as she meshes with her new teammates, which include fellow offseason acquisitions Courtney Vandersloot and Jonquel Jones along with holdover Sabrina Ionescu.

"We have a very talented roster, and now it's just about how we can play together with the facilities and staff and everyone around us," Stewart said. "Everyone wants to be great."

With Bird and Stewart no longer in Seattle, four-time All-Star Jewell Loyd is the face of the Storm.

Loyd averaged 26 points over the first two games, scoring 30 in Friday's 95-91 home loss against the Dallas Wings.

Seattle trailed by as many as 17 before rallying to make it a close setback. It also wasn't as demoralizing as the season-opening 105-64 home loss against the Las Vegas Aces.

Loyd allowed it will take time for the Storm to find their stride.

"When you have something that's brand new, you're kind of timid," Loyd said. "And once you lock in and understand what you're supposed to be doing, you play free. Right now, we're still trying to figure that out.

"People are just getting comfortable and every day I see in their faces, how they walk in the locker room and how they come to practice that they're getting more confident. But it takes some time. We have to be patient."

--Field Level Media

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