Breanna Stewart

Comeback kid Breanna Stewart takes home WNBA Player of the Week honors

Comeback kid Breanna Stewart takes home WNBA Player of the Week honors

Breanna Stewart is back from her torn Achilles and it’s like she never left. 

The Seattle Storm forward received WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week honors in the opening week of the 2020 season after an impressive first week back from arguably one of the most brutal injuries one can sustain. 

Stewie averaged 18.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as the Storm jumped out to a 3-1 start, tied for the league’s best record.

 

In her first WNBA game in almost two years since rupturing her Achilles, Stewart dropped 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals as the Storm blew past the New York Liberty 87-71 in the season opener for both teams.

She followed up that game with another dominant performance, this time against the Lynx. Stewart recorded 18 points,10 rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes of play as Seattle rolled to a 90-66 victory over Minnesota.

Then, the 2018 WNBA MVP led her team in scoring with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists as the Storm fell to the Mystics, 89-71. 

Stewart and the Storm capped off the week with a W over the LA Sparks, despite Sue Bird sitting out of Saturday’s matchup. Stewart finished with a season-high 21 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals. 

It’s too early to tell if Stewart can recapture her MVP form, but a start like this one certainly has Storm fans wondering if Stewart will be hoisting the Most Valuable Player trophy and WNBA championship trophy above her head once again. 

George Floyd's death: Seattle athletes organize rally demanding change

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USATI

George Floyd's death: Seattle athletes organize rally demanding change

Hours after thousands gathered for a somber and defiant memorial to honor George Floyd in Minneapolis, prominent Seattle athletes gathered at Liberty Park in Renton, WA for a rally on social justice.

University of Washington men’s basketball assistant Will Conroy organized the event which drew hundreds cladded in facemasks and a panel of speakers including Jamal Crawford, Zach LaVine, Isaiah Thomas, Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd and more.  

We all know what happened to George Floyd. We’re also disappointed and hurt, but how do we move forward? How do we educate ourselves? If we’re put in a situation with a police officer, how do we conduct ourselves? How do we speak a successful language that people understand, and we don’t have to speak with busting out windows? How do we do that? I don’t have all the answers, but I can tell you that I’m here for these kids. -- Will Conroy

Conroy felt compelled to organize the event after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died on May 25 after white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Charges were elevated for Chauvin, from third-to-second degree murder on Wednesday. Three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting murder. 

People all across the country have marched through the streets mourning Floyd and calling for an end to police brutality.

Conroy explained to the crowd that it was especially difficult to explain Floyd’s death to his two children, including 9-year-old son Will Jr. 

I try to teach him to treat everybody the same, as equals. Respect people. I try to teach him all those qualities, but when something like this happens, there’s a hard, harsh truth that I have to explain to him. And we’ve had that conversation and now he understands that some people just have hatred. But he has to know that not everyone is like that. That’s the first time we had the talk that unfortunately many Black people have to have with their kids. -- Will Conroy

Amongst those athletes who chose to speak out included Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart. Stewart called for justice and made her stance clear: She stands with the black community.

Obviously, I’m white (and) I cannot relate to the Black community. I know that what I’m feeling, you guys are feeling a thousand times more. And you know I think I’m going to just continue to do my best to create change. Create change from within because that’s where it first starts. …I’m going to educate my family and my friends. I’m going to have the uncomfortable conversations. Do the things we’ve put off, to be honest. It’s really time to create a change that really lasts. Black lives are important. And Black lives matter, obviously. -- Breanna Stewart

NBA stars Jamal Crawford and Isaiah Thomas, former Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril and Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd also urged those in attendance to continue the dialogue about race and social justice until change is made. Chicago Bulls guard Zach Lavine encouraged the crowd to vote in the 2020 elections. 

https://twitter.com/JMoSeattle/status/1268752522983792640?s=20

 

Breanna Stewart believes Oregon, Sabrina Ionescu would have won the National Championship

Breanna Stewart believes Oregon, Sabrina Ionescu would have won the National Championship

Real G.O.A.T talk.

Two of the most dominant basketball players to play the game went on Instagram live on Thursday afternoon for a little Q&A. Those two players were Breanna Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu. 

It would take a long time and a lot of real estate in this article to explain all of their individual accomplishments, so let’s just say they are really, really, really ridiculously good at basketball.

Stewart, or “Stewie” as her teammates call her, and Ionescu are walking on very similar paths. Both absolutely dominant in college; No. 1 overall WNBA Draft picks; heading cross country to join their first WNBA family. 

[RELATED]: Breanna Stewart pens wholehearted letter to Sabrina Ionescu ahead of WNBA Draft

The similarities don’t stop at just past achievements. Stewie won the WNBA’s Rookie of the Year in 2016 and should Ionescu continue this dominance at the professional level, her name just may be etched onto that trophy soon too. 

Looking back at Ionescu’s long and illustrious career, there were so many highlight-worthy and memorable moments but there is one in particular that stood out the most: earning a trip to the program’s first ever Final Four (Ionescu’s junior season in 2018-2019).

That was really cool and just being able to be part of a program that started from nothing and having that goal to win a National Championship and get to a Final Four and then finally be a part of a team that did that was really special. So I think that is probably my favorite overall memory and then saddened to not be able to continue that goal this year if we were able to play and compete for a National Championship… — Sabrina Ionescu 

Getting to a Final Four is one of the greatest achievements for a collegiate basketball program, something Stewie knows all too well having won four National Championships with UConn (2012-2016).

While she did not clearly say it, Stewart insinuated that the Oregon women’s basketball team would have won the National Championship if the NCAA Tournament were to happen. Ionescu agreed. And so do we.

Check it out in the video above. 

It’s about peaking at the right time and Oregon was coming off a reign of terror throughout the Pac-12 Tournament: a 20-point victory over Utah; an 18-point victory over No. 13 Arizona; and then a 33-point victory over No. 7 Stanford to claim the Pac-12 Tournament Championship. 

The Ducks were flying high into March Madness, which quickly became March sadness with the cancellation of the rest of the season. 

But the past is the past and we can’t wait until the WNBA season tips off and Ionescu sports that New York Liberty jersey for the first time while a healthy Breanna Stewart returns to the court.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin' Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.

Breanna Stewart pens wholehearted letter to Sabrina Ionescu ahead of WNBA Draft

Breanna Stewart pens wholehearted letter to Sabrina Ionescu ahead of WNBA Draft

Just four years ago, Breanna Stewart stepped on stage as she heard her name called as the No. 1 pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft. 

Stewart grew up in New York, watched her first WNBA game at the Garden, played college basketball at UConn, and then she was headed to Seattle for a first time. 

In a way, Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu will cross paths with Stewart on Friday. The California native, who played at Oregon, will join the illustrious club of No. 1 picks in the WNBA when she is selected by the New York Liberty.

Stewart has some welcomed advice for Ionescu, who is likely headed to New York, unless something unexpected happens on draft night. 

“Let the city welcome you,” Stewart said in a video via ESPN. “You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. People will want to show you around, tell you the best non-tourists spots and restaurants.”

Stewart recognizes Ionescu’s journey, while similar, is also a lot different than her own. 

Ionescu is grieving the loss of longtime friend and mentor Kobe Bryant after his passing. She’s also leaving Oregon with “unfinished business.” The triple-double-queen was robbed of her shot at a NCAA championship title after the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.  

You’re in a different situation now because we are now forced to embrace the unknown as we all navigate the pandemic, it’s hard to look at any positives when so much has been taken away.

It’s hard to even imagine the heartbreak. You’ve handled it with grace.

Stewart also detailed the start of her first few years with the Storm. From rupturing her Achilles and finding her identity outside of basketball to learning from the WNBA’s oldest active player, her Storm teammate Sue Bird.

“I see Sue's always busting her ass, and I need to do that, too, even more,” Stewart said. “She's already made a name for herself, but she's diligent about excellence. It has sustained her.”

“That's ultimately what it's about. You're a rookie, so you have to strike that right balance between confidence and sponge, but know that, ultimately, it's about doing the work. Show up and work hard and you earn respect.”

On Friday, Ionescu will join an exclusive club in the world of sports as the No. 1 pick. She’ll be in good company, too. 

Stewart knows Ionescu will want to live up to the standards of those who came before her, but for now, it’s all about living in the moment. You only get drafted once, and Ionescu has earned it. 
“This week, your dream is going to come true,” Stewart said, “And seeing it happen might just be what inspires a little girl to go out and try to break your records.

“She would honor all of us by doing it.”

Be sure to check out our Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and Oregon women’s head coach Kelly Graves:

Seattle's Breanna Stewart to weather the storm following ruptured Achilles

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USA Today Images

Seattle's Breanna Stewart to weather the storm following ruptured Achilles

“M-V-P, M-V-P, M-V-P.”

Chants rung out through EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia as WNBA basketball superstar Breanna Stewart held the championship trophy for the first time. The Seattle Storm had just completed a three-game sweep of the Washington Mystics in the WNBA Finals to secure their third title in franchise history.

But that was seven months ago.

The reigning league and finals MVP, who spent her WNBA offseason playing for Russia-based Dynamo Kursk, was injured Sunday playing in the EuroLeague Final Four Championship in Sopron, Hungry. Upon returning to the States, Stewart underwent an MRI which confirmed her worst fears.

The 24-year-old ruptured her right Achilles tendon and will miss the 2019 WNBA season.

"First off, I just want to thank you for the tremendous amount of love and support I've received over the past few days," Stewart said in her announcement on Twitter. "The situation is still a shock to me. ... This year especially has been amazing and filled with lots of success and as we all know there are highs and lows throughout a career."

This is just another obstacle that I will overcome. I'm thankful that I have so many people in my corner to help me every step of the way. I'm feeling every emotion possible at this point but just know that the bounce back will be real and I'll be back better than ever.

Stewart is expected to make a full recovery following surgery and could return to the court as early as the 2020 WNBA season. Rehabilitation from an Achilles injury takes an estimated nine months to a year.

Like many other female players in the WNBA, Stewart was playing overseas to maximize her income. In 2018, she made $56,793 in base salary with the Storm and earned bonuses of $15,000 for being named MVP, $11,025 for winning the WNBA title, $10,000 for being All-WNBA first team and $2,500 for being in the All-Star Game.

Since she was taken as the No. 1 pick in 2016, Stewart has played in 111 games in three WNBA seasons, averaging 20.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 blocks. She has missed only one game in her WNBA career. 

With Stewart out, the Storm are left to pick up the pieces. Just last week, Seattle drafted 6-foot-4 Australian forward Ezi Magbegor, who could have an increased workload with Stewart sidelined. Jewell Loyd, Natasha Howard and Sue Bird will be tasked with filling the void as the Storm looks to defend its title when the WNBA season opens on May 25.

Storm take a 2-0 series lead in WNBA semifinals

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Seattle Storm

Storm take a 2-0 series lead in WNBA semifinals

It took overtime, but Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm took down the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday, 91-87, to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the WNBA Semifinals.

Seattle led by as many as 17-points before the Mercury clawed back. Diana Taurisi hit a fade-away three from the corner with 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 79, but Seattle would regain composure in overtime to walk away with the victory. 

Breanna Stewart led the Storm with 27 points, while Sue Bird chipped in 19 points and six assists. (FULL BOX SCORE)

The series now shifts to Phoenix where it is do or die for the Mercury. The WNBA Semifinals are a best of five series, so the Strom just need one win to advance.

Game Three is scheduled for Friday at Talking Stick Resort Arena, tipoff is set for 7:00 pm. You can watch all the action live on ESPNews & NBA TV.