Previewing a season without Stewie for the defending champs
In the latest episode of the Locked On Women’s Basketball Podcast, host Ben Dull is joined by Kevin Pelton of ESPN to preview the upcoming season for the Seattle Storm.
This episode is the second in a team-by-team season preview series leading up to the start of the 2019 WNBA regular season.
Topics covered in this episode include:
- reflecting on the Storm’s leap from eighth to first and 2018 championship run
- reaction to Breanna Stewart’s injury
- next steps for Jewell Loyd to take on a more commanding role offensively
- finding a fifth starter and the idea of experimenting with smaller lineups
- expectations for Jordin Canada’s second season and the potential strength of a Canada-Sue Bird-Loyd three-guard lineup
- Natasha Howard’s first season in Seattle and how the rest of the frontcourt can mesh with her in extended minutes sans-Stewart
- the battle for the final roster spots and the addition of veteran wing Shavonte Zellous
The Storm raced out to first place in the standings and never looked back last season. Stewart had ascended to a new level in just her third WNBA season and it became apparent that the Howard acquisition was a home run for the Storm and new head coach Dan Hughes.
Seattle secured a double-bye into the semifinals where they faced the Phoenix Mercury in a best-of-five series for the ages. The first four games went to the home team, setting the stage for a winner-take-all Game 5.
The Storm went on to sweep the Washington Mystics in the 2018 WNBA Finals. The club selected Australian forward Ezi Magbegor in the first round of this year’s draft, but the team announced that she will not be coming over this season.
In addition to Stewart’s injury, news that Hughes had been diagnosed with cancer shook the basketball world last month. He recently underwent surgery. A timetable has not yet been set for his return. Assistant coach Gary Kloppenburg will act as the interim head coach to start the season.
The Storm host the Mercury to kick off their 2019 WNBA regular season on May 25. The game will be televised on ABC.
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