Why former UConn women's basketball players thrive with WNBA's Seattle Storm: 'It's a family'

Why former UConn women’s basketball players thrive with WNBA’s Seattle Storm: ‘It’s a family’

Evina Westbrook became the seventh UConn women’s basketball player in history to be drafted by the Seattle Storm when she was picked in the second round of the WNBA draft on April 11.

The Storm has long been a West Coast home for the Huskies. Not only has the team featured two of the greatest to ever play the sport — Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart — but the franchise has mirrored UConn’s long history of winning with a WNBA-record four titles.

As training began this week, four former Huskies are wearing the Seattle green and yellow: Westbrook, Bird, Stewart and Gabby Williams.

“Seattle Huskies,” Stewart said during a Zoom media call Wednesday afternoon after the team’s third day of training camp.

The 2022 season is likely to be Bird’s last after she’s spent all 20 years of her WNBA career in Seattle. The 41-year-old led the team to the second round of the playoffs last year — falling to form UConn teammate Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury — despite a midseason coaching change and spending three weeks in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.

Stewart, who welcomed her first daughter days after helping Bird and Team USA win gold, enters her sixth year in the WNBA after spending the offseason recovering from a minor Achilles surgery. The four-time NCAA champion with the Huskies missed the final two games of the regular season and Seattle’s postseason run last fall because of the foot injury.

Meanwhile, this summer will be the first in Seattle for both Westbrook and Williams.

Williams was suspended from Chicago and then traded to Los Angeles this past spring due to her commitment for playing on the French national team ahead of the Olympics. Seattle then traded fellow former Husky Katie Lou Samuelson to Los Angeles for Williams during the offseason. Williams has yet to join the Storm for training camp as she concludes competition playing overseas in Hungary.

Westbrook’s addition to Seattle was made official in this year’s draft, when she was selected No. 21 overall by the Storm.

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