Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart delivers the season’s best performance with Lauren Jackson on hand

SEATTLE – With former three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson in attendance as part of a sale crowd on Wednesday, Seattle Storm straight ahead Brianna Stewart She went on to claim her second MVP award, scoring a season high of 33 points in 31 minutes as she defeated Storm. Minnesota Linux 89-77.

Jackson, who played her entire 12-year WNBA career in Seattle, returned to the city for the first time since retiring the number 15 jersey in 2016 during Stewart’s junior season. Having another MVP for the franchise helped spur Stewart’s performance.

“For me, LJ is clearly a legend, one of the best players ever,” she said. “The fact that we have similar tracks now that they are being crafted in Seattle and trying to take whatever I can from her game and add it to my game. Growing up, she was one of the players I was looking for because of her versatility, the game from the inside out.

“To be able to have her here is obviously an honor, I think it’s amazing that she’s here for Sue. [Bird] And you want to make an offer to her. She’s definitely someone I look up to, and we said in the locker room, but she helped build who we are with the storm. I really appreciate it and we never forget that.”

Like Stewart, Jackson had her biggest success alongside Bird, who announced that she would retire at the end of the 2022 season. Bird was ranked number one overall in 2002, a year after Seattle won Jackson with the same selection, and together the two stars lifted the storm to the titles in 2004 and 2010. .

Due to its distance from Jackson’s home country, Australia, she has rarely returned to Seattle since she last played in the WNBA in 2012. The timing of Bird’s last season matches well with Jackson who has already traveled to the United States with the Australian national team for training. camp and fairs last week, allowing her to visit Byrd in her second home game of the regular season.

Prior to the match, Jackson downplayed her importance while praising Stewart’s game.

“Stewie is unbelievable,” Jackson said. “As a professional athlete, she has evolved to be the best in the world. Our games are different in the sense that I’m maybe a little bigger and I play a little bit more indoors, but what she can do indoors and out, there’s no one better than here, she’s great.”

“I’m just an old athlete. I’m just a former Storm player. What she does is incredible, and it’s fun to watch as a fan.”

Jackson was reminded that she was more than just a former player when she visited the Seattle locker room to congratulate the team on the win.

“She was very grateful and thankful,” said Storm coach Noel Quinn. “Our players were like, ‘No, thank you. She’s like, “Maybe none of you here know who I am.” We’re like, “What? No, they definitely know.” I was just amazed at our team and how we played tonight.

“This is a legend in front of us, and I think it was a great moment for our group to have one of the greats not only for this organization but for the basketball game standing in front of us. I thought it was great.”

Stewart got off to a strong start on Wednesday, scoring 12 points and providing four assists in the first quarter as he opened Seattle’s 12-point lead and never looked back. She needed just 20 shooting attempts and two trips to the free-throw line to score 33 points, and she finished with eight rebounds and five assists in one of her best performances of the season.