WNBA 2020 Finals: Storm’s Sue Bird sets playoff assist record in Game 1 win over Aces

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In 2004, Sue Bird played her first game of the WNBA Finals, just three seasons after her career began. Sixteen years later, she still assists the Seattle Storm pursuit titles and is still one of the league’s top playmakers. It didn’t take long for her to prove it on Friday night as she made history in Game 1 of the 2020 WNBA Finals. Bird scored just two points, but she provided 16 assists in the game. Storm’s 93-80 victory, setting a new career record and a WNBA playoff record.

A few minutes into the match, Bird got out of the pick-and-roll and found a Jewell Loyd wide open on the wing. The young guard buried the 3 point for the first points of the Storm game and Bird’s first assist. From there she was gone. She racked up 10 assists in the first half alone and continued to ride after the break.

Within minutes of the start of the second half, Bird claimed another high pick-and-roll, this time with Breanna Stewart. Driving to the left of the screen, Bird dropped a fluid pocket pass between Las Vegas Aces defenders, setting up Stewart with a wide open midrange jumper. Stewart only caught the net, giving Bird his 12th assist of the game, which set a record for most assists in a playoff game.

Bird wasn’t finished, however, and midway through the fourth quarter she continued to improve on her historic game. After playing with Loyd, Bird spotted Stewart on the block and whipped an inside pass. Again, Stewart paid her off, hitting a turnaround jumper to give Bird his 16th assist in the game. This set a new WNBA playoff record and also extended the peak of Bird’s career.

Bird is also the all-time leader of the WNBA, recording 2,831 in her historic career. She has nearly 1,000 more assists than next closest active player, Diana Taurasi.

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