Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
Two names that will live in infamy for their outstanding contributions to the UConn women’s basketball team, Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart continue to prove that they are still among the top talents in the WNBA. Together in Seattle, the pair guided the Storm to a solid 22-14 record during the regular season, the fourth-best in the entire league and the second-best mark in the Western Conference. Bird, who announced back in June that the 2022 season would be her last, is in the middle of an impressive farewell tour that refuses to slow down, extending well into the WNBA playoffs. She became the oldest player to record a double-double in the postseason in Seattle’s round one clinching victory over the Washington Mystics back on Aug. 21. Bird then followed up that performance by dishing out a whopping 12 assists in the team’s game one defeat of the Las Vegas Aces to open the semifinal round. Stewart was a major part of why Bird racked up so many dimes, scoring 24 points while also chipping in six rebounds and two assists during the contest. Always known for her ability to put the ball in the basket, Stewart’s playoff performance comes on the heels of another outstanding regular season in which she led the WNBA in scoring per game as she averaged 21.8 points per contest this season. The duo of Bird and Stewart have already won two WNBA championships together in addition to their respective UConn accolades, and the two will look to continue the Storm’s recent hot streak as they aim for another ring within the next few weeks. The Storm will take on the Aces for game two of the semifinal round on Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 10 p.m. EST.
George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays
Ever since he became a Toronto Blue Jay during the 2020-21 offseason, George Springer has done exactly what the Blue Jays paid him to do: provide an everyday spark at the top of the lineup and set the tone for his teammates. An aggressive hitter with an above-average feel for the strike zone on top of his defense capabilities, Springer is in the midst of yet another impressive campaign. As of Tuesday afternoon, Springer’s 2022 stats include a decent .272 batting average, though his 19 home runs and 57 runs batted in are much higher than what most teams expect from their leadoff hitter. The New Britain native was named to the American League All-Star team back in July and has helped guide Toronto to a 69-58 record through Tuesday after the team started the year off slowly. The Blue Jays currently hold the third and final AL wild card spot in the inaugural year of MLB’s new playoff format. However, they’re only two games above the Baltimore Orioles, meaning that both Springer and the team will need to continue to win games in order to secure the opportunity to chase a title. Should Toronto clinch a playoff spot, Springer will hope to improve on an already impressive playoff resume that includes a World Series Championship and a World Series MVP award, both of which occurred in 2017 while Springer was a member of the Houston Astros.
In other news…
Former UConn football standout Byron Jones was placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list by the Miami Dolphins early Tuesday afternoon. He has missed all of training camp with an Achilles injury and will now be unavailable for at least Miami’s first four games. Jones is in the middle of a lucrative 5-year, $82 million deal that he signed with the Dolphins in 2020.