Season Recap: Swords Gives Storm Size, Inside Presence Off Bench

By Seth Dahle

In January 2017, Seattle acquired 6-foot-6 center Carolyn Swords. The Storm desperately needed a big in order to free up post players such as Breanna Stewart and Crystal Langhorne, and the Boston College product ultimately gave opponents something to think about when entering the paint.

Swords, who came from a defensive-minded New Liberty team, said that while there was a brief adjustment period during training camp and early in the season, she enjoyed the Storm’s up-tempo pace.

“Once we got into games, I was developing that comfort,” said Swords. “It was different, but it still made sense to me. I enjoy running the floor, so the up-tempo pace is something I find exciting and like to be a part of. Teams still need rebounders and paint protectors.”

In 30 games this season, Swords went on to tally 77 points, 46 rebounds and six blocks. In 8.7 minutes per game, she shot over 55 percent from the floor, including 76.7 percent from the charity stripe.

Despite seeing limited action for a majority of the season, Swords came alive late in 2017, compiling 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting in the final two regular-season contests. On Sept. 1 at Washington, she recorded 10 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting off the bench, and she scored the bucket that made history for Sue Bird, who became the WNBA’s all-time assist thanks to a layup by Swords.

“I’m just one of over 2,000 buckets Sue has created,” said Swords. “It was a testament to who she is as a person and player. She’s really giving up control and trusting that her teammates are going to finish the play. I couldn’t be happier for her, and it was really nice we were able to honor her in that moment.”

Swords followed that season-best performance with a seven-point outing at Chicago, putting the finishes touches on her first regular season with the Storm.

“We had high expectations for ourselves,” said Swords. “We were pretty excited about how things were looking in training camp and the start of the season. I think we were pretty focused internally. We are always striving to get better, and we have a lot of intelligent players on this team.”

In the offseason, Swords will play professionally in Poland for the second straight year, and she plans to focus on “continuing to be aggressive” and “being a defensive force.”

Meanwhile, Swords said the Storm is headed in the right direction, especially since it has a lot of “skilled players and smart leaders.”

“I think we have a lot of skill and potential on this team,” said Swords. “Even in this last month, we’ve taken a lot of steps to in terms of being able to think the game, in the moment, and make adjustments and also work together. There’s been a solid core here the last couple of years, and so any time you’re building chemistry that’s a great thing.”

2017 HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Was responsible for Sue Bird’s 2,600th-career assist, which set a WNBA record
  • Posted a season-high 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting at Washington on Sept. 1
  • Scored 15 points off the bench, including 11 in a row at one point in the third stanza, in a preseason win over Phoenix on May 3
  • Scored six points on 3-for-3 shooting and pulled down a season-high five boards vs. Connecticut on July 12
  • Swatted a season-high two blocks vs. Phoenix on Aug. 27