Sue Bird gets 2,600th assist, becomes all-time WNBA assists leader

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 27: Sue Bird /

WASHINGTON, D.C.–On Friday night against the Washington Mystics, Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird notched the 2,600th assist of her legendary career, which was enough to pass Ticha Penicheiro for the top spot in WNBA history.

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Bird came into the game just three assists away from the mark, and she got down to business quickly. Her first assist came on a layup by Crystal Langhorne with 6:45 left in the first. Then in a span of 30 seconds, she assisted on two Carolyn Swords layups in successive possessions.

After her 2,600th assist, with 3:37 left in the first, the game was stopped momentarily and interim head coach Gary Kloppenburg came onto the court  to give her the game ball as the Mystics crowd gave her a standing ovation.

In true Bird style, she notched her 2,601st assist one minute later.

Penicheiro put up an Instagram post congratulating Bird just moments after her record-breaking pass.

“Records are made to be broken and if someone is going to take your “crown,” you want it to be someone like you,” she wrote.

Bird doesn’t like to talk a lot about her individual accomplishments — it is a team game, after all — but records like this are certainly meaningful for her.

“Obviously things like this are special,” Bird told the Spokesman-Review earlier this week. “They speak to a consistent level of play. It’s not about having one good game or season, but having success throughout a career.”

She also told the Review about the most memorable assist of her career — which she recalled in vivid detail.

“We were playing Minnesota in 2012 in the first round of the playoffs and we were down 3,” she said. “Brian (Agler) drew up a play and there was nothing fancy about this assist, but it led to a 3 that tied game and sent it to OT. The minute it left my hands and I saw that (Lauren Jackson) was going to get a shot, I knew it was in. That one was definitely memorable.”

Friday night’s milestone will certainly be one to remember as well — though exactly what type of memory it is remains to be seen. The Storm have yet to clinch a playoff spot with two games left in the season, and a win against the Mystics would lock up the No. 8 seed. After the first quarter, the Storm led the Mystics 26-24.