SEATTLE – In her final post, the Seattle Storm spot defender Sue Bird At 41, becomes the oldest player in WNBA history to score a double in the playoffs with 18 points and 10 assists on Sunday Win 97-84 to scan the Washington Mystics. Both totals are high points this season for Bird.
“Vintage Sue,” said Seattle coach Noelle Quinn. “There’s something about these moments that makes me understand why she’s so amazing. You see her just kicking another piece of equipment mentally and physically.”
Bird, who once held the record for being the oldest WNBA player with a post-season double, did so at the age of 39 in Storm’s WNBA Finals 2020 win over the Las Vegas Aces. According to stathead.com, only three NBA players have had a double in the playoffs by the age of 40: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (the only player to do so at an older age than Bird), Karl Malone and John Stockton.
After scoring two assists on Thursday in a tight 86-83 Game 1 win, when she regularly played without the ball, Bird had one in the first quarter on Sunday while scoring nine points – the most her in the opening stages of this season. Quinn encouraged that belligerence from Bird.
“We know that she can facilitate, that will always happen,” Quinn said, “but the points need to come early and often for her.”
For Bird, it was a product of the way she was protected.
“This is a team that if they don’t toggle select and scroll when I’m in them – mostly when Stewie [Breanna Stewart] “You have to be aggressive in those moments,” explains Bird. You have to find your shot. You have to make them pay. Don’t overdo it – I think there’s a trade-off there – but you definitely have to do it. “
From the second quarter onwards, Bird’s game takes center stage. She put up seven assists in the second and third periods combined. Bird’s 10th support comes Tina Charles in the paint with 2:17 left, giving Seattle the lead by 11 points. Washington would never seriously threaten the rest of the game.
With the win, Storm advanced to the semifinals for the third time since 2018. The previous two trips led to championships in 2018 and 2020. In fact, Seattle is unbeaten in the WNBA Semifinals and Finals in his career. of Bird, winning the title all four times. The group has come this far.
The Storm will face the Las Vegas Aces, who completed their sweep over the Phoenix Mercury on Saturday, in a rematch of Seattle’s 2020 Finals sweep. Reaching the semifinals ensures Bird has at least one more game in front of her home fans at the Climate Pledge Arena before she retires at the end of the season.
“I just have a lot of games left,” Bird said. “What winning today did obviously push us into the semi-finals. It also ensured we had more home games. That was definitely etched in my mind as I went into the day. today. It’s not a huge motivation, just what I thought when I walked in.”
Bird and her teammates also had an unlikely source of momentum on Sunday: the Delta app, which is providing notifications about Storm’s scheduled flight to Washington, DC, the Monday before the game. Potential decision 3 hosted by Mystics.
“It really reminds us of what’s at stake,” Bird joked. “No, I don’t want to check bags!”
With the win, that flight was canceled and Seattle will spend the week at home preparing for the semifinals.
“Now that we have all of this left,” Bird said, “we have all the time to prepare knowing that Vegas has gone deep, so they definitely get that rest and time. Be able to stay at home and not have to travel the vast country. “