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Breanna Stewart, the biggest name in this year’s WNBA free agency class, will take her talents to the Big Apple to join the Liberty.
On the first day that teams are now allowed to sign players, Stewart tweeted a video with a Statue of Liberty emoji to confirm her decision.
Stewart, 28, made the decision to return to her home state after the former MVP recently narrowed her choices down to New York or a return to the Storm, where she’s spent her first six WNBA seasons. Stewart’s seismic signing shakes up the entire WNBA landscape in a big way, with the Syracuse native now set to move back to the East coast to form an intriguing “Big 3” alongside All-Star guard Sabrina Ionescu and newly-acquired star center Jonquel Jones, whom N.Y. landed via a blockbuster trade with the Sun on Jan. 16.
Wednesday’s news signals the end of an incredible run for Stewart in Seattle following a season where the highly decorated forward led the WNBA in scoring for the first time in her career. Stewart averaged 21.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game on 47.2% shooting from the field and led the Storm (22–14, No. 2 in West) to their seventh-straight playoff appearance, which ended in a semifinals loss to the eventual-champion Aces in four games.
A two-time WNBA champion and four-time All-Star, Stewart has continued to dominate the sport since arriving in the league as the No. 1 pick in 2016. Stewart won league MVP in ’18 and guided the Storm to championships in ’18 and ’20 alongside recently retired legend Sue Bird while winning finals MVP honors twice—the second of which she claimed after missing the ’19 season with a torn Achilles she sustained playing overseas.
Stewart’s decision to join the Liberty also marks the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s first time playing for a team in the tri-state area since starring for UConn from 2012 to ’16. The former Huskies star won four consecutive NCAA titles and Most Outstanding Player awards and was a three-time National Player of the Year.
In New York, Stewart will headline a roster that now features a pair of former WNBA MVPs in the frontcourt, with Jones having won the honor in 2021, next to Ionescu—the ’20 No. 1 pick—and key rotation pieces in Betnijah Laney and Marine Johannès. Led by second-year coach Sandy Brondello, the Liberty will look to build off a promising ’22 season that saw the team earn a playoff berth after finishing 16–20 and push the then-reigning champion Sky to the limit before falling 2–1 in the first round.