While the Storm travel to Phoenix for Sunday’s exhibition finale, star rookie Breanna Stewart returns to Storrs, Conn. for a special occasion – her graduation.

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While the Storm travels to Phoenix for Sunday’s exhibition finale, star rookie Breanna Stewart returns to Storrs, Conn., for a special occasion – her college graduation.

“I’m so looking forward to that,” she said. “I feel good and excited about it, but at the same time I also don’t want to leave my team and I’m missing another opportunity to get used to things (in the WNBA).

“But you can’t pass that up.”


Storm @ Phoenix, exhibition game, 3 p.m.

Stewart, who studied Sport in Society as the focus of an individualized major and minored in communications at Connecticut, described participating with former teammates in a graduation ceremony in front of family and friends as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

It’s the first time the 21-year-old budding WNBA star will get a chance to see her parents since arriving in Seattle for training camp two weeks ago and the final opportunity to close the chapter on a brilliant college career that included four NCAA championships.

Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck – who led the Huskies to a 151-5 record during their four-year careers – will reunite for the first time since the WNBA draft, when they were the top three players chosen. Jefferson was picked second by the San Antonio Stars, and the Connecticut Sun selected Tuck third.

“I’m looking forward to getting back and seeing my friends that I came in with as freshmen – seeing them before everyone goes their separate ways,” Stewart said. “I’ll see Morgan and Moriah and my parents.”

Meanwhile, Seattle looks to improve on Wednesday’s 81-73 loss to Phoenix at KeyArena in the exhibition opener.

The rebuilding Storm was competitive during the first half, and the score was tied at 39-39 against a depleted Mercury team that expects to compete for a WNBA title. However, Phoenix was missing its top three players (Diana Tarausi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner).

The absence of stars on both sides will once again make it difficult to draw any meaningful observations from the Storm’s final tuneup before its May 15 season opener at Los Angeles.

At the very least, coach Jenny Boucek expects to get a better understanding of the rotation and the players at the end of the bench who are hoping to make the 12-player roster.