The 14-year veteran returned to the Storm’s lineup for Tuesday’s home win against Tulsa. Bird did not play Sunday in Tulsa to rest her body and could miss a game during the team’s three-game trip that begins Friday at Minnesota (7-2).
A rotating Sue Bird might be the new norm this season.
The 14-year veteran returned to the Storm’s lineup for Tuesday’s home win against Tulsa. Bird did not play Sunday in Tulsa to rest her body and could miss a game during the team’s three-game trip that begins Friday at Minnesota (7-2). Seattle (3-7) also travels to Atlanta (Sunday) and Indiana (Wednesday).
“We’re playing it by ear with her,” first-year Storm coach Jenny Boucek said. “Our big-picture plan is the development of this team. Games we feel like it’s best to rest Sue is also an opportunity to develop other players.”
Without Bird on Sunday the Storm lost 93-89 at Tulsa. On Tuesday the All-Star had a team-high 17 points in a 74-69 victory over visiting Tulsa.
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Tucked into the games were breakout performances by WNBA rookies Jewell Loyd, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, and Japanese star Ramu Tokashiki. Loyd has scored in double figures her past two games, and Tokashiki is averaging 15.6 points per game in her past three outings.
“I’m loving the challenge,” Tokashiki said of playing in the WNBA. “I’ve shown that I can run the floor and use my speed. The areas that I have to improve is my toughness and physicality. I want to grow every game.”
Bird, 34, missed the 2013 season due to a knee injury. She’s missed only 20 games the other 12 seasons and is averaging 28 minutes per game.
“Sue’s feeling really good physically,” Boucek said. “I don’t anticipate having to rest her a whole lot. It’s a choice.”
• The WNBA released early All-Star voting results Thursday, and Bird is third among Western Conference backcourt players. Tulsa point guard Skylar Diggins leads all players with 11,099 votes but will not play due to a season-ending knee injury.
Bird tallied 4,693 votes, according to the league.
Tokashiki was fourth among frontcourt players in the West with 2,378 votes.
The All-Star game is July 25 at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena.
All-Star starters will be announced on ESPN on July 14. Reserves will be announced July 21 during ESPN2’s telecast of the Phoenix and Los Angeles matchup. In the case of players who are unable to play due to injury — such as Diggins — replacement players will be named by WNBA president Laurel Richie.