The Breanna Stewart era has arrived in New York. The forward scored a whopping 45 points and added 12 rebounds and 3 assists as the team defeated Indiana Fever 90-73 in their home opener at Liberty Grounds.
Stewart scored a career-high 45 points in just three quarters, setting a franchise record for Liberty. The performance also made her the first player in WNBA history to score more than 40 points in her career home debut.
I shot 15-for-21 from the field, hitting six 3s. She joins Liz Cambage as the only WNBA player to score 40 points on at least 70% shooting from the field. Her performance marked the fifth 45-point double-double in league history.
Stewart was the biggest free agent this season after spending her entire career with the Seattle Storm. Her addition came as Liberty was quickly gaining recognition as a supervillain, adding Jonquel Jones and Courtney Vandersloot to a list that already included young stars in Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney.
The long-awaited team fell short in its season debut, falling to the Washington Mystics 80-64 in a display that illustrated a lack of team chemistry.
Stewart enjoyed the redemption process during an on-court interview after the game on Sunday.
“I feel like I made the right decision,” she said when asked what it was like to perform in her home country; She is from Syracuse, New York.
While Stewart took half of the team’s points on Sunday, she got some help from the star-studded Liberty roster. Newcomer Vandersloot had 11 points and 8 assists. All-Star returning player Ionescu had 9 points and 8 assists. Jones, MVP of 2021, scored 14 points, and shot 6-of-10 from the field.
For Stewart, the performance had a deeper meaning,
“It was really important for me to play like that on my debut,” Stewart said. “Because I want people to be here and I want them back, and I want more. I want more of everything. And yes it sounds selfish, but as a women’s basketball player, and as an athlete, we need to continue to be more recognizable in the media coverage, fans, eyes, and viewers.”
“I hope I made a few [good] Some people have first impressions, and I hope they come back and come back with more.”
Fans can answer Stewart’s call on Saturday afternoon when Liberty returns to Brooklyn and hosts the Connecticut Sun.
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