Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird becomes winningest player in WNBA history with 324th career victory

When the Storm pulled out late Wednesday to defeat the WNBA-leading Las Vegas Aces 88-78, Seattle point guard Sue Bird notched her 324th career win and became the highest-grossing player in league history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research .

Bird, who announced earlier this month that this will be her final WNBA season, surpassed retired point guard Lindsay Whalen (323). Bird and Whalen are the only two players in league history to have at least 300 wins. Rebekkah Brunson and Swin Cash, the latter of whom played four seasons in Seattle with Bird, are third with 294.

Because all of these players have split their careers across multiple teams, Bird has an even bigger lead over Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi (279) for the most wins with a single WNBA franchise.

“It’s amazing,” said Storm coach Noelle Quinn, who played with Bird before retiring and joining the team’s coaching staff. “She would probably say it’s because she’s old. That’s always the answer. Just the longevity of an amazing player making such an impact on the game.

“It’s not just the assists with Sue, it’s making big plays, the big shots. I thought she played a great defense tonight. Those intangible values ​​that she brings with her, but also: She’s the GOAT, an amazing player with a long career and deserves every singles record she’s about to break because she’s been playing for over 20 years.”

Indeed, Bird downplayed the performance — as she did when she became the all-time WNBA leader in games and minutes played and joined the assists record she broke in 2017 — as a product of the 19 seasons she Seattle has played No. 1 from Connecticut since her draft in 2002. She noted that Whalen set the record in fewer games (480 to Bird’s 564).

Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon, who played for rival New York Liberty in Bird’s WNBA debut (a loss at Storm), gave Bird more credit.

“It says she’s been on a lot of good teams for a very long time,” Hammon said. “She’s always the head of the snake — I mean that in a good way. She is who she is for a reason. She just keeps making the right play, whatever that is.”

Seattle’s strong fourth quarter, fueled by 11 points from Jewell Loyd and eight from Breanna Stewart, overshadowed former WNBA MVP Tina Charles’ Storm debut. Charles, who signed Tuesday with Seattle as a free agent after securing a contract buyout with the Mercury, came off the bench for the first time in her WNBA career.

According to research from ESPN Stats & Information, Charles had started more games (373) early in her career than any other player in league history before coming off the bench for the first time. Charles surpassed Whalen’s former teammate Seimone Augustus, who started her first 363 games before coming off the bench in 2019.

Charles had 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 16 minutes on her debut.

Ultimately, the night belonged to Bird, whose milestone was far greater than her 13 points and six assists in 25 minutes.

“She’s a winner,” Loyd summed it up.

https://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/34170845/seattle-storm-sue-bird-becomes-winningest-player-wnba-history-324th-career-victory Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird becomes winningest player in WNBA history with 324th career victory

Emma Bowman

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