22-game slate at IMG Academy begins July 25
BRADENTON, FLA. – Announced today, the three-time WNBA champion Seattle Storm will tip off its 21st season presented by Symetra at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. From July 25 through Sept. 11, more than half of the Storm 22-game schedule will be nationally televised on ESPN, ABC or CBS Sports Network. The Storm’s local broadcast schedule will be shared at a later date.
The most decorated professional franchise in Seattle will begin its quest to reclaim the WNBA title on July 25 when the Storm opens the WNBA season on July 25 against No. 1 overall draft pick Sabrina Ionescu and the New York Liberty. The Storm will embark on its 21st season bolstered by the return of 2018 WNBA MVP and Finals MVP Breanna Stewart and the WNBA all-time assists leader Sue Bird after both were sidelined in 2019 to due injury. The team core also features reigning Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard; respective All-Defensive First and Second Team honorees Jordin Canada and Alysha Clark; and 2019 All-Star starting guard Jewell Loyd.
2019 Storm first-round draft pick Ezi Magbegor will make her WNBA debut with the Storm in 2020, after winning her second WNBL Youth Player of the Year award in three seasons playing in Australia. In the off-season, the Storm also added WNBA veteran guard Epiphanny Prince and Morgan Tuck, a former UConn teammate of Breanna Stewart.
Seattle’s 2018 title-winning head coach, Dan Hughes, will not join the team in Florida for the 2020 season. A medical assessment by the league, in consultation with his primary physician determined that Hughes could be at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. Gary Kloppenburg, a veteran member of the Storm coaching staff, assumed the role of head coach for the 2020 season. Kloppenburg was an assistant coach for the Storm in 2000-2002 and returned in 2017. He previously served as the Storm’s interim head coach in the 2017 and 2019 seasons.
An important aspect of the season will be a commitment to social justice reform. Breanna Stewart will serve on the newly-formed WNBA/WNBPA Social Justice Council to implement The WNBA Social Justice Movement initiatives. As recently released in a joint statement by the WNBA and Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA):
“In its inaugural season, the Social Justice Council will cultivate designated spaces for community conversations, virtual roundtables, player-produced podcasts, and other activations to address this country’s long history of inequality, implicit bias and systemic racism that has targeted black and brown communities. With an intentional plan to educate, amplify and mobilize for action, the WNBA and the WNBPA will focus on engaging educators, activists, community and business leaders with players, team and league staff, and fans.”
What to Watch For
- Five Storm games will be televised nationally on ESPN including the WNBA season opener against the New York Liberty. Opening weekend will be dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement.
- The Storm takes on the WNBA all-time scoring leader Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury on ABC on Aug. 8 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Seattle will also close out its 2020 regular-season campaign on CBS Sports Network on Sept. 11 at 10 p.m. Eastern against the rival Mercury.
- Winners of the 2018 WNBA title, Seattle will play both of last season’s WNBA Finalists in nationally broadcasted games — facing reigning champions Washington on July 30 at 6 p.m. Eastern on ESPN and Connecticut on Aug. 4 at 9 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.
- After eliminating Minnesota in the first round of the 2019 postseason, the Storm will play Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier and the four-time champion Lynx on July 28 on CBS Sports Network.
Primed to return to the hardwood stronger than ever, the Storm invites you to be a part of a season unlike any other by joining the Champions Club. Receive three shipments of customized Storm gear and premium merchandise that you can’t find anywhere else – plus, stay connected to the players and coaches with virtual events. To sign up for the Seattle Storm Champions Club, call (206) 217-WNBA (9622) or visit www.stormchampionsclub.com.
—— StormBasketball.com ——