Sue Bird and Tanisha Wright have re-signed multi-year contracts with the team, Seattle Storm Head Coach and General Manager Brian Agler announced today. The prolific guards have both spent the duration of their WNBA careers with the Storm and together helped lead the team to its second WNBA championship in 2010.
The Storm selected Bird with the No. 1 pick of the 2002 WNBA Draft and Wright with the 12th overall pick in the 2005 Draft. The longest tenured starting backcourt in the WNBA, Bird and Wright have started 117 games together, the most of any Storm guards. (Bird and Betty Lennox started together 116 times.) They rank first (Bird, 1,780) and second (Wright, 627) on the Storm's all-time assist leaderboard.
Re-signing Sue and Tanisha was a priority in terms of what we wanted to accomplish during the offseason, Agler said. They are the best backcourt in the WNBA and a critical part of building a roster that can compete in 2012 and beyond.
The opportunity to see Sue and Tanisha play their entire careers in Seattle was remarkable, added Storm CEO and President Karen Bryant. The leadership and talent they bring to the team, on and off the court, is invaluable as we continue to build for the future.
Bird led the Storm in scoring last season (14.7 points per game) and was named a starter in the WNBA All-Star game for the seventh time. She became the 16th player in WNBA history to reach 4,000 points and was also recognized as one of the Top 15 Players in WNBA History.
After undergoing surgery in September to repair the labrum in her right hip, Bird joined Russian club UMMC Ekaterinburg in January.
I ve always said I want to finish my career in Seattle, Bird added. There is no place else I d rather play. I m happy to get this done. My first 10 years with the Storm have been memorable, and I look forward to making more great memories this season and in the future.
Wright, who averaged 10.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game last season, made her third consecutive appearance on the All-Defensive First Team in 2011. A starter in 32 games for the Storm, she is currently playing with Elitzur Ramla in Israel.
I don't think a lot of people can say they've spent their whole career with one team, said Wright. I'm extremely blessed. I'm happy that the organization wanted me back and we could get this done.
Seattle previously signed veteran center Ann Wauters as a free agent on Feb. 6. Wauters, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 WNBA Draft by the Cleveland Rockers, is currently playing alongside Lauren Jackson with Ros Casares Valencia.
The Storm opens the 2012 season by hosting the Los Angeles Sparks on May 18 at KeyArena.
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