When Breanna Stewart graduated from UConn in 2016, it was pretty much a guarantee that she would be selected first in the WNBA draft.
Stewart left UConn having won four national championships, three Wade Trophies and three Associated Press National Player of the Year honors. The legacy she left was a culture of winning.
When it was announced that the Seattle Storm had the first pick in the draft that year I remember perking up a little. Things were about to get very interesting in the Emerald City.
Stewart heading to Seattle gave Seattle three No. 1 draft picks–Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd and, of course, Stewart.
The idea that two of UConn’s greatest were going to get to play together excited me. Sue Bird is a legend. If she and Stewie could play well together, they would dominate.
In Stewart’s first season, Seattle made the playoffs. They still lost in the first round, but it was a great improvement from the year before.
In one of my “hot takes” that season, I continuously said that the Storm was going to be an extremely dominant team in just a few years. At this point, the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks were the most dominant teams in the league and their reign seemed far from over. How could the Storm compete with the likes of Maya Moore and Candace Parker? “Just give Stewie and Jewell Loyd a couple years to adjust and it’ll happen,” I said.
The next season, Seattle went just as far in the playoffs. But something was there. The chemistry between Loyd, Bird, and Stewart was palpable. They were getting hungry to go further.
This season has been like none other for the Storm. The Storm are in the WNBA finals and have the chance to sweep and win it all tonight at 8 p.m. against Elena Delle Donne and theWashington Mystics.
Stewart was named league MVP and has been a dominant force both offensively and defensively.
While the Storm is currently in the finals, winning the semi-finals against the Phoenix Mercury was their most impressive test.
The best-of-five series led to a final winner-take-all game. Just 48 hours before, Sue Bird had suffered a broken nose, and yet she still made the decision to play. Bird has broken her nose multiple times before in her career, but this one seemed to light a fire in her.
In the winner-take-all game five Bird went off. She had a slow start, but by the fourth quarter, nothing could stop her. Fourteen of her 22 points came in the fourth quarter. She was hot from there, and it was evident her confidence was through the roof.
Seattle Storm fans had waited for this new championship team. Bird wasn’t going to let them down.
The Storm handed Diana Taurasi her first loss in a winner-take-all game. They were passionate, and their fans were loud and devoted.
While the WNBA finals series isn’t over yet, this season has definitely been punctuated by the Storm’s dominance. Bird’s decision to stay in Seattle with a sinking team paid off as she helped rebuild them game by game. Sure, it helps that she plays with Stewart and Loyd, but Bird is the leader of that team. Without her, the Storm loses a big part of its identity.
So, yes, I want the Storm to win. They deserve it.
To Sue Bird, thank you. From one Long Island girl to another, thank you for being one of the best ambassadors for the sport and inspiring young girls and boys everywhere to keep playing.
Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.