Before calling it quits on a decorated WNBA career that includes a 2012 league championship and a 2014 All-Star nod, veteran point guard Briann January wanted to return home.
The Spokane native who starred at Lewis and Clark High, signed a one-year deal with the Storm Wednesday and plans to retire after her 14th season.
“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to come back to my home state for my final season in the W,” January said in a statement released by the team Wednesday. “I’ve always admired the way the Storm operates both on and off the court. I can’t wait to get to work with this talented group of women and do my part in helping this team win another championship.”
The 5-foot-8 point guard brings a wealth of experience to a Storm backcourt that includes three-time WNBA All-Star Jewell Loyd, who signed a two-year supermax deal worth $463,030 on Tuesday.
The Storm is also expected to re-sign 12-time WNBA All-Star guard Sue Bird to what could be the final season for the 41-year-old Seattle icon.
Last season January averaged 7.0 points, 3.1 assists and 1.8 turnovers while shooting a career best 42.5% on field goals and 38% on three-pointers in 29 games for the Connecticut Sun. She also collected her seventh WNBA All-Defensive team selection.
“Briann is a proven leader with championship experience and will make an immediate impact on our culture with her competitiveness, grit, and tough mentality,” coach Noelle Quinn said. “She has made her mark in this league as a tenacious defender, but also brings a proven efficiency on the offensive end.”
January, who spent her first nine seasons in Indiana, is regarded as the most prolific point guard in Fever history. She made three trips to the WNBA Finals (2009, 2012 and 2015) with Indiana and coach Pokey Chatman, who joined the Storm as an assistant this year.
Adding January makes Storm backup point guards Jordin Canada or Epiphanny Prince expendable.
Canada is a restricted free agent who was extended a qualifying offer from the Storm while Prince has a non-guaranteed contract worth $115,000.
It’s been a suspenseful free agency for Seattle, which re-signed fourth-year center Mercedes Russell to a three-year, $480,000 contract on Tuesday and agreed to a one-year deal with three-time WNBA All-Star Breanna Stewart.
January will likely be the biggest new acquisition to a Storm team that finished 21-11 last season and was eliminated in the second round of the WNBA playoffs.
Seattle is currently tied to 12 players, including restricted free agent Stephanie Talbot. The WNBA roster limit is 12.
The Storm also has five picks (No. 9, 17, 18, 21 and 33) in the 2022 WNBA draft that’s set to be held in April.