“We are dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor, an outstanding EMT who was murdered over 130 days ago at her home,” Liberty point guard Layshia Clarendon said at midfield alongside Storm star Breanna Stewart. “Breonna Taylor was dedicated and committed to uplifting everyone here.
“We are also dedicating this season to the ‘Say Her Name’ campaign, a campaign committed to speaking the names and fighting for justice for black women – black women are so often forgotten in this fight for justice, which no people marching the streets for them.
“We will say his name. Sandra Bland. Atatiana Jefferson. Dominique Remy Fells. Breonna Taylor. We will be a voice for the voiceless.
Taylor’s full name appeared on the back of both teams’ jerseys in Saturday’s game as part of a campaign that will pay tribute to women victims of police violence, including Sandra Bland and Vanessa Guillen.
Stewart, the 2018 regular season and finals MVP, led the Storm to an 87-71 victory, finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals in her first WNBA game since she was helped Seattle win the 2018 championship.
The 2020 WNBA season, delayed and cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, will be played in a bubble at the IMG Academy.
Stewart missed all of last season after tearing his Achilles tendon while playing for his Russian club team Dynamo Kursk in the Women’s Euroleague Championship match in April 2019.
Jewell Loyd scored 14 points and Sue Bird, who also missed the 2019 season with a knee injury, added 11 points, scoring 3 of 5 from a distance of three points and distributing five assists for Seattle.
Sabrina Ionescu had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in her WNBA debut. Ionescu, the No.1 pick in the April draft, was 4 of 17 shooting, including 0 of 8 on three-pointers, and committed four turnovers.
Clarendon led the Liberty with 20 points.
Loyd hit a three-runner then converted a three-runner 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 in a 14-4 run to open the fourth quarter that gave the Storm her biggest lead when she found Stewart for a three-point that capped the push and made 80- 61 with 4:44 to play.
New York’s Kia Nurse left the game early in the second quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.