Storm defeat Liberty to start season 1-0
BRADENTON, Fla. — The Storm opened the season with an 87-71 victory over the New York Liberty. The game began with a tribute to Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville police while asleep in her own home on March 13, 2020.
Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird returned to the court for Seattle for the first time since the 2018 WNBA championship and immediately made their presence known. Stewart led the team with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Bird added 11 points and five assists.
Jewell Loyd added 14 points for the Storm, and Jordin Canada had 10 points, four rebounds, and four assists off the bench.
The Storm got off to a strong start, leading 24-16 in the first quarter but the Liberty came roaring back with a 8-0 run in the second frame. The Storm held them off and beat them down in the fourth quarter, outscoring New York 21-14.
New York’s Layshia Clarendon was on fire for the first three quarters with 18 points, shooting 5-for-8 from the field before the Storm shut her down for only two points in the fourth. No. 1 overall draft pick Sabrina Ionescu had 12 points and six rebounds in her WNBA debut.
- #SayHerName: It has been 134 days since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own apartment. The officers responsible for her death have not been arrested
- Twenty-seven seconds into the game, Natasha Howard scored the first basket of the 2020 WNBA season off a swipe-and-dish by 2019 All-Defensive Second Team honoree Alysha Clark. The 2019 Defensive MVP finished with 6 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals to reach the 200th
- 2018 Finals MVP Breanna Stewart returned to the court after missing the 2019 WNBA season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Stewart led the Storm outright with 18 points (6-12 FG) and 8 rebounds. “Stewie” also matched her regular season career high with 4 steals.
- Sue Bird suited up for her WNBA-leading 509th career game after she was sidelined last season while recovering from knee surgery. Bird tallied 11 points and went 3-of-5 from three-point range. The WNBA all-time assists leader dished out 5 dimes without committing a turnover.
- Jewell Loyd became the first Storm player to cross the double-digit point threshold, finishing with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
- Coming off the bench, Jordin Canada collected an efficient 10 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
- Storm 2019 No. 12 draft pick Ezi Magbegor made her WNBA debut in the second half. The 20-year old Australian finished with 7 points (3-4 FG) and 3 rebounds.
- With the win, Seattle improves to 11-10 all-time in season openers. This was the second time that Seattle faced New York in its season opener, and the first since Sue Bird made her WNBA debut in 2002.
NEW YORK HIGHLIGHTS
- The Liberty’s newest veteran guard Layshia Clarendon led the team and game in scoring with 20 points in her debut with New York.
- New York’s six rookies combined for 44 points, and Sabrina Ionescu led the way in her 33:56 minutes with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
- The game saw 4 lead changes and 6 ties.
- Kiah Stokes hit her first career three in the third quarter of the game. She finished with five points on 10 rebounds