UConn legend Breanna Stewart signing with WNBA’s New York Liberty
Former UConn women’s basketball legend and WNBA star Breanna Stewart has decided to switch teams after six seasons.
Stewart, a free agent, announced on Twitter on Wednesday that she was signing with the New York Liberty and leaving the Seattle Storm, the team that drafted its first overall in 2016. Stewart reportedly narrowed her agent options free at Storm and Liberty.
The decision comes just months after another UConn legend, Sue Bird, retired after spending two decades with the Storm. Stewart, a four-time NCAA champion with UConn, won two WNBA titles with Bird.
With Bird’s retirement, Stewart had the opportunity to start over with a new franchise. The native of Syracuse therefore returns to her country of origin.
Stewart averaged 20.3 points and 8.6 rebounds over six seasons. In the playoffs, she averaged 25.2 points and was twice named WNBA Finals MVP. She won league MVP in 2018 and is a four-time All-Star.
The WNBA’s leading scorer last season had teams seizing the chance to land one of the best players in the league. Her free agency had the league buzzing as she began sending cryptic tweets, offering clues about the teams she was considering via emojis.
She reportedly spoke in Seattle, New York, Minnesota and Washington before narrowing her choice between two teams.
— Breanna Stewart (@breannastewart) February 1, 2023
Reports also began circulating that Stewart and fellow free agent Courtney Vandersloot were interested in joining the same team during free agency. Vandersloot, one of the league’s top point guards and a WNBA champion with Chicago, reportedly had conversations with Stewart about the possibilities of combining their talents with the Liberty.
Vandersloot announced Tuesday night that she was leaving Chicago, but she has yet to sign with another team.
New York previously entered into a three-way trade with the Connecticut Sun and Dallas Wings to land star player Jonquel Jones. Adding Vandersloot and Stewart along with Jones and Sabrina Ionescu would create a super team in New York.
Someone who knows a lot about building super teams is Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, who did his best to lure Stewart to the Liberty.
“Stewie come here, it’s gonna be ridiculous,” Durant said in a boardroom video shared on Twitter. “I hit Stewie the other day and I never do that. And I was like, ‘Yo, it would be an amazing dynasty in New York if you came here.’ I don’t think she’s seen it yet, but (the Liberty are) getting ready.
Durant reacted to Stewart’s announcement with a tweet: “Yeah don’t ring my phone looking for tickets this summer they’re gone. Let’s go
Yes, don’t call my phone to look for tickets this summer, they’re gone. Let’s go @nyliberty https://t.co/dPx7emIeMP
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) February 1, 2023
With defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces signing Candace Parker and building a super team in the Western Conference, the Liberty are poised to be the answer in the East.
New York also made sense of geography for Stewart, whose wife Marta Xargay is Spanish.
[email protected]; @CBonsports