The Seattle Storm begins regular-season play on Saturday. Here are five things to watch for this season, including roster continuity, schedule breaks and the All-Star Game coming to Seattle.
Missing stars in preseason
Storm stars Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird sat out both exhibition games because of knee injuries while reserve forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis recently returned to Seattle after playing in France during the offseason. It’s going to be interesting to see if they can hit the ground running when the season begins.
Roster continuity helps
The Storm returns nine players, including all five starters, from last year’s team that snapped a two-year postseason drought and was upset 94-85 at Atlanta in a single-elimination playoff game. Minnesota is the only other team returning its entire starting lineup.
Home early and away late
It’s essential for the Storm to start fast in 2017, considering eight of the first 12 games are at home and nine of the final 12 are on the road. Last year, the Storm was 6-11 in away games, including just one victory against a team with a winning record.
Bird is close to becoming the WNBA’s career assists leader. Entering her 15th season, all in Seattle, the nine-time All-Star ranks second all time with 2,411, just 189 from passing Ticha Penicheiro (2,599). Bird, a three-time assists leader, has recorded 190 or more assists in a season four times, including last season (196).
All-Star Game, Plum in Seattle
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The WNBA All-Star Game will be played in Seattle for the first time, on July 22 at 12:30 p.m. at KeyArena. In addition, San Antonio rookie Kelsey Plum, the former UW star, is scheduled to play here June 18 against the Storm. The NCAA career scoring leader is also in Seattle on Aug. 18.