Noelle Quinn Brings Vital Experience to Young Seattle Storm

Seven days ago, Noelle Quinn played 13 minutes for the Phoenix Mercury in a loss to the Dallas Wings. She had appeared in every game up to that point, averaging about 10 minutes off the bench. Quinn is used to switching teams – she’s been in the league 10 years and played for five different clubs – but hadn’t been traded midseason until the Storm acquired her this past weekend.

The veteran guard is thrilled to be back in Seattle, where she spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

“That’s the great thing about it,” Quinn said after practice on Monday. “It is tough being traded midway through, because you get accustomed to certain players and a certain system. But the great thing about coming here is that I was here not too long ago. Jenny [Boucek] was an assistant but had a lot of input. The owners are the same, and a few of the players are the same. The adjustment won’t be as hard.”

As part of the trade for Quinn, Seattle sent Phoenix the rights to center Angel Robinson. The Storm also acquired free-agent center Krystal Thomas, who had been waived in May after going through training camp with the club. To make room for Quinn and Thomas, Seattle released Blake Dietrick and Markeisha Gatling.

Quinn, a native of Los Angeles who starred at UCLA, has played both point guard and shooting guard during her lengthy WNBA career. For Boucek and her staff, it’s vital to have players with Quinn’s experience around the young squad that features rookie Breanna Stewart and a trio of second-year players.

“We’re looking at the direction our team is going,” Boucek said. “One of the first things I did was check her contract status, because I felt she was a perfect fit for what we’re doing. We want to be a versatile team that’s able to play positionless in a lot of situations. We want a high IQ team, a mature team of selfless, great teammates. She’s all of those things. She brings a winning mentality, she’s a great teammate, and she’s super smart.

“When you have a young core, you want mature veterans around them that are going to support their growth. It takes some of the burden off them, and they can be free to just play.”

Quinn has played in 310 regular-season games and 14 playoff games, including two with Seattle in 2013 and four with Phoenix last season. The 6-foot guard has 1,673 career points and 745 assists, which rank third and second on the team, respectively.

“It’s exciting to come into a very positive environment,” Quinn said. “Whatever is asked of me, I will just try to do my best.”

Quinn could see action as soon as Tuesday night, when Seattle hosts the Atlanta Dream at 7 p.m.