Seattle, WA – In the final regular season home game of Sue Birds career, the Seattle Storm failed to keep up with the high-powered Las Vegas Aces. Tina Charles and Breanna Stewart provided great performances for the Storm, but several key players failed to help push Seattle over the edge. With the emotions of the game riding high, the Storm could not close it out after bringing the game within a single possession four minutes into the fourth quarter. With the loss, the chances of Seattle having the Western Conference go through Climate Pledge Arena are getting tight.
Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson, two former MVP award winners that again lead the voting this season, put on a show inside of Climate Pledge Arena. Stewart followed up her season high in points with another performance that triumphed the last game. Stewie poured in 35 points while snagging ten rebounds despite a first quarter that saw her go 0-4 from the field. Across the court, Aces forward A’ja Wilson Poured in 29 points and grabbed six rebounds while looking like a cheat code. Head coach Pokey Chatman (Noelle Quinn was out with health and safety protocols) discussed Stewart and Wilson.
“The caveat with A’ja and Stewie is that they are hybrids into today’s game. Can play the four to the five, don’t play the traditional back to the basket. I think that’s what is special is because they are evolving their game, and doing so without losing any part of their game,” Chatman remarked.
Storm center Tina Charles looked dominant for extended periods of time for Seattle. For the majority of the game, Charles led the team in scoring and was the only player really keeping the Storm afloat. While Stewart would catch up and put in her MVP like performance, Jewell Loyd only notched one point, while Gabby Williams and Sue Bird were in single digits. Charles was able to contribute in the paint, from beyond the arch, and even defensively. Outings like this will be crucial for Seattle in the postseason. Head coach Pokey Chatman discussed the difficulty of facing Vegas and their bench stepping up.
“Frustration would be disrespectful to their talent… You have to keep tight on their players, they’re one of the top teams… Chelsea made some tough ones, that’s what the great players do. You have to take the other ones away. They stepped up, they made big plays, that’s what the stars do,” Chatman said.
Sue Bird is the most accomplished athlete in Seattle sports history, and certainly up there when it comes to basketball as a whole. The veteran will have a statue and her jersey number retired when things are all said and done, and it is difficult to put her entire legacy into words. Several celebrities were on hand to witness the memorable game, including several past teammates of Bird. Her impact is immense, and her career isn’t over just yet.
Following the emotional loss to the Aces, Seattle now goes on the road for three games to end the regular season. These next three games are critical for Seattle due to playoff seeding, and none of them are going to be easy. They begin the road trip in Chicago against the defending champion Sky. The Tuesday, August ninth matchup against Chicago tips off at 5PM PST.