As the end of 2021 approaches, WNBA.com concludes this 25th season by recapping each team’s season. Take a look at notable contributors and season highlights with the 2021 Season Review. Next is the Seattle Storm.
The reigning WNBA champions were looking to win their fifth title this season. However, the Storm entered this season with a very different look than last time around. While Storm made her “big three” (Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart), they lost key free agency contributors including Natasha Howard, Alysha Clark and Sami Whitcomb. Newcomers have arrived to fill the gaps, including Katie Lou Samuelson via trade. In addition to the roster changes, head coach Dan Hughes has retired after six games of the season and assistant coach Noelle Quinn has been announced as the new head coach.
Many believed the season would be an uphill battle for the team with a new coach and a roster filled with new faces. However, it was quite the opposite for the Storm as they dominated the first half of the season with a league record, 16-5. The contributions of the dynamic trio of Bird, Loyd and Stewart propelled the Storm’s success, earning them a place in the Commissioner’s Cup championship as the best team in the West. In the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup championship, the Storm, led by the stellar performance of Breanna Stewart, defeated the Connecticut Sun in a resounding victory, 79-57. Stewart was named the MVP of the Commissioner’s Cup.
As the second half of the season approached, the Storms were in first place. However, once play resumed, the Storm struggled to close matches. Then it was announced that Breanna Stewart was out for the remainder of the season due to a foot injury. Resulting in the storm falling to the No. 4 seed with a 21-11 season record. In the second round of the playoffs, when the team fought hard, the No.5 Phoenix Mercury beat him in overtime, 85-80.
This offseason could be hectic for the Storm as Bird, Loyd and Stewart are all screened as unrestricted free agents. The direction of the franchise could change depending on what happens in free agency
Before Breanna Stewart’s injury, she played one of her best basketballs and was one of the favorites for this year’s MVP award. The Storm’s early season success was led by the 6-4 forward, who averaged 20.3 points (third in WNBA), 9.5 rebounds (fifth), 2.7 assists and 1 , 75 blocks (fifth). Her ability to change the game at any time was demonstrated on September 3 against New York Liberty when she scored 31 points to give the Storm the victory, including 21 points in the second half. This season, Stewart added illustrations to her resume, winning an Olympic gold medal with Team USA, being named the Commissionerâs Cup MVP and becoming the fastest player in league history to record 2,500. points and 1,000 career rebounds.
Jewell Loyd, aka the Gold Mamba, has had a career-high season averaging 17.9 points (seventh in the league), 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game. She didn’t get her nickname, Gold Mamba, for no reason. Loyd’s ability to hit clutch shots when needed is as elitist as it gets. On June 4, with less than a second left in overtime, Loyd scored the game-winning three-point goal to give the Storm the victory over the Dallas Wings, 105-102. In the second half of the season, Loyd became the team’s number one offensive option with Stewart out, and well, she didn’t disappoint. The 5-10 goalie dropped a career-high 37 points, including 22 points in the first quarter to secure the Storm victory. His 22 points tied a WNBA record for points in a quarterfinal. The Electric Guard landed their first All-WNBA First Team nod. She also won her first Olympic gold medal with the United States team this summer.
History has always been a household word for Sue Bird, but it was even more familiar this season. The 18-year-old veteran returned to the Seattle Storm as team leader and general on ground with an average of 5.3 assists per game. The all-time assists leader has reached 3,000 career assists this season, becoming the first WNBA player to accomplish that and set the league record for All-Star selections with 11. More , 4x WNBA champion and friend Diana Taurasi became the only basketball player to ever win five gold medals. The list goes on … While Bird did not secure her 5th championship, as she had hoped, Bird strengthened her legacy and undying impact on the game.
Highlights of the season:
White House pays tribute to Seattle Storm
The Seattle Storm was honored for its 2020 championship by the White House on August 23. The Seattle Storm are the first professional women’s sports team to be honored by President Joe Biden and the first WNBA team to be celebrated in the White House since 2015.
Thank you @potus to honor the @seattlestorm today pic.twitter.com/SPvg3XIseI
– WNBA (@WNBA) 23 Aug 2021
Inaugural Commissioners Cup Champions: Breanna Stewart named MVP of the Commissioners’ Cup
The Seattle Storm became the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup champion after beating the Connecticut Sun, 79-57. Breanna Stewart was named the Commissioner ‘s Cup MVP after dropping a game-high 17 points and shooting 3-4 from distance.
Two Storm players named to 2021 WNBA First All-Star Team
Breanna Steward and Jewell Loyd were selected to the 2021 All-WNBA First Team after both enjoying impressive seasons. This is Loyd’s first selection and Stewart’s fourth.
âï¸ Take the league by STORM âï¸
Congratulation to @breannastewart and @jewellloyd after being named to the 2021 All-WNBA First Team! ??#TakeCover pic.twitter.com/uqp5tytTpV
– Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) October 15, 2021
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