Liberty’s Kia Nurse suffers injury in WNBA season opener

Breanna Stewart had 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals in her first WNBA game since helping Seattle win the 2018 championship, sending the Storm past the New York Liberty 87-71 Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

The 2020 WNBA season, delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic, will be played in a bubble at the IMG Academy.

Stewart missed all of last season after tearing her Achilles tendon while playing for her Russian club team in April 2019.

New York’s Kia Nurse of Hamilton, Ont., left the game early in the second quarter because of an ankle injury and did not return.

WATCH | Kia Nurse leaves season opener with injury:

New York Liberty guard Kia Nurse has to be helped off the floor after falling awkwardly during the 2nd quarter. 0:57

Jewell Loyd scored 14 points and Sue Bird — who also missed the 2019, because of a knee injury — added 11 points, hitting 3 of 5 from three-point range, and five assists for Seattle.

Sabrina Ionescu had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in her WNBA debut. Ionescu, the No. 1 pick in April’s draft , was 4-of-17 shooting, including 0 of 8 from three-point range, and committed four turnovers.

Layshia Clarendon led the Liberty with 20 points.

WATCH | Breanna Stewart leads Storm past Liberty:

In her first WNBA game since the 2018 Finals, Breanna Stewart scored a team-high 18 points as her Seattle Storm defeated New York Liberty 87-71. 0:32 

Neither team took the court for the national anthem and there was a 26 second moment of silence for Breonna Taylor. Taylor, an African American emergency medical technician, was shot dead in her apartment by Louisville Metro Police officers executing a no-knock search warrant on suspicion of drug possession. No drugs were found.

WATCH | WNBA players honour Breonna Taylor prior to tip-off:

Before the WNBA season tipped off it’s announced that their season is dedicated to Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was shot and killed by police on March 13. 1:29

Loyd hit a three-pointer and then converted a three-point play before Stewart made a layup to make it 34-26 and the Storm led the rest of the way.

Jordin Canada scored six points during a 14-4 run to open the fourth quarter that gave the Storm their largest lead when she found Stewart for a three-pointer that capped the spurt and made it 80-61 with 4:44 to play.

Sparks run away from Mercury

Nneka Ogwumike scored 21 points and Seimone Augustus added 14 and the Los Angeles Sparks used a big third quarter to beat the Phoenix Mercury 99-75 on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

The 2020 WNBA season, delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic, will be played in a bubble at the IMG Academy.

Oguwmike and Augustus combined to make all 14 of their shots. Augustus was playing her first game with Los Angeles after signing as a free agent from Minnesota in the off-season. Chelsea Gray and Candace Parker had 13 points apiece, and Brittney Sykes and Te’a Cooper each scored 10.

Diana Taurasi, who missed most of last season with back and hamstring injuries, led Phoenix with 16 points, Skylar Diggins-Smith added 14 points and six assists.

Los Angeles outscored the Mercury 30-8 in the third quarter to take an 80-54 lead into the fourth. Augustus and Gray had nine points apiece in the period. The Sparks made 12 of 18 from the field while limiting Phoenix to 27% (3 of 11) shooting.

The Mercury committed 27 turnovers – their most since 2016 – including nine in the third quarter.

David Stern added to Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame class

Late NBA Commissioner David Stern has been added to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction class.

Commissioner of the NBA from 1984-2014, Stern was Instrumental in the founding of the WNBA and a longtime supporter of the women’s game. He died Jan. 1 at age 77 a few weeks after a brain hemorrhage.

The enshrinement of the Class of 2020 has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic until next year. The ceremony will be held on June 12, 2021.

Joining Stern in the class that was selected by the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors are Tamika Catchings, Swin Cash and Lauren Jackson. The other members of the class are veteran player Debbie Brock and contributors Carol Callan, Sue Donohoe and Carol Stiff.

The 1980 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team, which did not get to compete in the Ompics because of the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Games, also will be honoured as the Trailblazers of the Game.

Stern previously was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the International Basketball Hall of Fame.

Original article: https://www.cbc.ca/sports/basketball/wnba-season-opener-roundup-july-25-1.5663141?cmp=rss

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