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Stewart, Storm roll to victory in season-opener vs. Liberty

The Seattle Storm opened the 2020 WNBA season with a win over the New York Liberty. We break down some notable stats and news.

Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm shoots the ball against the New York Liberty on July 25, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Seattle Storm opened the 2020 WNBA season as championship favorites, and they walked away from their opener against the New York Liberty with a 87-71 win. New York gave Seattle trouble early, even coming back from a 12-point deficit to take a second quarter lead. However, Seattle used an 8-1 run to take a lead they would never relinquish.

The Storm closed strong to secure a cover of the point spread. DraftKings Sportsbook opened the Storm as 5.5-point favorites, but the public hammered the line. As tip-off arrived, it had reached 12 points, but the Storm were able to cover any wagers outside of the most extreme alternate spreads. The point total was installed at 154.5 and the game went over in the final minute of play.

Breanna Stewart led the way for Seattle, scoring a game-high 20 points. Sue Bird made her return from injury to score 11 points and dish out five assists. She also gave star rookie Sabrina Ionescu a tough time for much of the No. 1 pick’s debut. Kiah Stokes led the way on the glass, grabbing ten rebounds.

There were two particularly notable storylines for New York in the loss. We got to see the debut of No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu, and she put together an up-and-down debut in facing a tough challenge from Bird & Co. Ionescu missed all eight of her three-point attempts and was 4-of-17 from the floor, finishing with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 turnovers. The other big storyline was the loss of Kia Nurse to an ankle injury. Nurse went down in the second quarter and she looked to be in a bad way right away. She left with the trainer and did not return.

Seattle Storm stats

Breanna Stewart: 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists
Sue Bird: 11 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds
Jewell Lloyd: 14 points, 3 steals, 3 rebounds

New York Liberty stats

Layshia Clarendon: 20 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 rebounds
Sabrina Ionescu: 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Amanda Zahui B: 10 points, 8 rebounds
Kiah Stokes: 5 points, 10 rebounds