Breanna Stewart Is Ready for Her Old Normal: Winning Championships
Along with the rest of the world, athletes have had their careers upended by the coronavirus pandemic. They are giving The New York Times an intimate look at their journeys in periodic installments through the rest of the year. Read Stewart’s previous installments here and here.
At long last, Breanna Stewart’s W.N.B.A. comeback came on Saturday, when her Seattle Storm defeated the Liberty and the vaunted No. 1 draft pick Sabrina Ionescu, 87-71, in the league’s nationally televised season opener. Big-buzz, showcase games like that one are nothing new to Stewart, of course. After winning an Olympic gold medal and four national titles at Connecticut, she led the Storm to the W.N.B.A. title in 2018 and was named the league’s most valuable player. Then came the biggest test of her career: a devastating Achilles rupture that caused her to miss all of last season.
Stewart spent months cooped up in Seattle, rehabbing and taking part in Black Lives Matter protests before trekking to Florida at the start of July for the new season. She joined the rest of the W.N.B.A.’s players at the IMG Academy, a 600-acre sports training campus 45 miles from Tampa Bay where all 12 teams are living, training, and sequestering together as they play a shortened 22-game regular season.
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