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Breanna Stewart returns to Seattle as the Liberty visit the Storm

WNBA Championship Portraits Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Keep establishing foundation. When you’re building something new, it’s going to take time to where you want to go. For the New York Liberty, they’ve been building throughout the early portion of the season and are starting to get to where they want to be. They helped the cause with a quality win over the Connecticut Sun on Saturday afternoon. The win was their second in a row and now they’ll be on the road for a few days. For more on the Liberty, listen to me and Erica Ayala of Black Rosie Media talk about it on the Gotta Get Up podcast!

The opponent tonight is entering a new era of their own. The Seattle Storm aren’t expected to be competing for a WNBA championship, but they still have good talent on the roster. The Storm bounced back from a rough home opener against the Las Vegas Aces, but still fell just short against the Dallas Wings on Thursday evening. They’ll be off for a few more days before hitting the road.

Where to follow the game

ESPN2 is the place to be. Tip after 9:00 p.m. ET.


Bonjour, Marine Johannes! MJ is back from France as Lyon won the championship. Johannes will not be joining France for Eurobasket and it appears that she will be with the Liberty and WNBA for the rest of the season.

However, the same can not be said for Seattle’s Gabby Williams. Williams is in the crosshairs of the new prioritization rule, and her status for this season is up in the air. If you’re as confused by this as I am, Kevin Pelton broke it down with our pal, Jackie Powell of The Next

The game

We’ll be seeing some old friends of ours tonight. Kia Nurse was an All-Star for the Liberty in 2019 and is back in action after an ACL tear suffered in the 2021 playoffs caused her to miss all of the 2022 season. Nurse gives the Storm a boost of 3-point shooting and is someone who can finish well at the rim as well. Sami Whitcomb came to the Liberty in 2021 and provided the team with great shooting and veteran leadership in her two seasons with the ballclub. She’s back with the team where she had her most WNBA success and will help guide Seattle into its new era.

It’s always exciting to see a young player take the next step. Ezi Magbegor is one of the best defensive bigs in basketball and now she’s getting to showcase her skills on the offensive side of the ball.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Sandy Brondello and the Liberty work to minimize Magbegor’s impact tonight.

For the Liberty, they’re at their best when they’re pushing the pace and getting out in transition. That starts with the work of Courtney Vandersloot and Sabrina Ionescu. Sloot and Sab were able to get the team on the break after missed Sun shots and were able to get easy looks for their teammates. Vandersloot is getting back to full strength following her training camp concussion, and you can see the excellence in her game already.

Player to watch: Jewell Loyd

When two icons are no longer with you, a lot more will be placed on your shoulders. Loyd is one of the best scorers in the game and she will have to carry even more of the workload for her team. Loyd is first in field goal attempts (25 per game) and third in points per game (26 a night) on 34/35/75 splits. Betnijah Laney has gotten the assignment of guarding the opponent’s best perimeter player, and she’ll likely draw the Loyd assignment. Laney (and Kayla Thornton off the bench) has done a great job setting the tone for New York’s defense, and if she’s able to bother Loyd enough, it’ll shut off a major source of Seattle’s offense.

All eyes will be on Breanna Stewart. In six seasons with the Storm, Stewie was: Rookie of the Year, MVP, two time champion, two time Finals MVP, and named a member of the WNBA 25th Anniversary team. Stewart is one of the greatest athletes in Seattle sports history. In postgame on Saturday, she was asked about getting ready to return to Seattle and said:

“It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling. And I can’t lie and say that I’m not thinking about it at all. Of course, it’s, you know, in the back of my mind and wanting to go there and just be appreciative of everything that I had and appreciate those moments and those relationships and things like that. I don’t know, it’s not a good or a bad thing, it’s an indifferent feeling. But as people change positions and jobs, you go to different places, you never forget where you came from, and the places that you spent the most time. I think, just, grateful and gonna be emotional, but good emotional I guess?”

It’s gonna be an emotional night for all involved. As Stewart goes on her new adventure here in New York, we get a firsthand seat to watch her greatness on display. Stewie was one block away from making some fun 5x5 history as her 21 points, six rebounds, five assists, six steals and four blocks paced NY (Candace Parker is the only player in W history to have a 5x5 game). Having your defense lead directly into your offense is a wonderful feeling and is something the Liberty have been very deliberate about so far

Magbegor will get the assignment of guarding her old teammate. Should make for a fun night on a big stage.

From the Vault

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