The Seattle Storm announced their final roster for the upcoming WNBA season Thursday afternoon. The retirement of Sue Bird and Brenna Stewart’s return to her roots in New York began the rebuilding of the Storms roster. The roster rebuild is not a complete overhaul with the return of Jewell Loyd, Ezi Magbegor, and Mercedes Russell.
The three were part of the Storm’s 2020 WNBA Championship squad. Loyd and Russell were also on the 2018 Championship team.
Loyd, a two-time All-WNBA pick and four-time All-Star, has averaged at least 15.5 points per game in each of the last three seasons. Magbegor earned 2022 All-Defensive Team honors after ranking second in the league in blocks at 1.8 per game, adding 9.5 ppg and 5.6 rpg. Russell missed much of 2022 due to injury but looks to return to her 2021 form where she averaged 7.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting 61.7% from the field–the third-highest mark in franchise history (min. 100 FGA).
The new faces on the 2023 team include former Storm guard Sami Whitcomb, who earned a pair of WNBA Championship rings with the Storm in 2018 and 2020. In addition, Seattle signed guard Kia Nurse, who has looked strong in camp while making her return to the WNBA after missing the 2022 season due to an ACL injury suffered 39 seconds in Game 4 of the 2021 WNBA Semifinals.
Seattle’s roster includes a trio of point guards led by veteran Yvonne Turner, who has played 13 seasons in Europe along with four seasons in the WNBA. Rookies Jade Melbourne and Ivana Dojkić will join Turner at the point. Melbourne, the Storm’s third-round pick in 2022, is the youngest player on a WNBA roster at 20 years old. She is coming off an impressive WNBL season which saw her earn second-team all-WNBL honors after leading the league with 6.1 assists per game. Dojkić, a member of the Croatian National Team and a EuroLeague veteran, will be making her WNBA debut with the Storm after nine seasons in Europe. She averaged 12.1 points and 3.8 assists per game for Italy’s top-flight team Bologna this past winter.
Other newcomers to the Storm roster include free agent signees Kaila Charles and Arella Guirantes along with 2023 draft picks Jordan Horston and Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu. Charles, who enters her fourth year in the league, posted impressive numbers in Israel this offseason, leading the top division with 24.0 ppg. Guirantes had equally impressive numbers in Hungary’s top division, averaging 16.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Horston, the Storm’s 2023 first-round draft pick, will likely see time at forward, but can play the guard position as needed. Mendjiadeu, a 6-4 forward from Nkongsamba, Cameroon, selected with the Storm’s second-round pick, averaged 16.5 points and 12.3 rebounds per game as a senior at the University of South Florida. She becomes the first player born in Cameroon to make a WNBA roster.
The Storm waived Theresa Plaisance Thursday afternoon to finalize it’s roster
Plaisance, a 2022 WNBA Champion with the Las Vegas Aces, was originally drafted by the Tulsa Shock in the third round (No. 27 overall) of the 2014 WNBA Draft. The nine-year WNBA veteran played five-plus seasons with the franchise, which relocated to Dallas and became the Wings prior to the 2016 campaign.
Dallas traded Plaisance to Connecticut on August 6, 2019, where she stayed until signing a free agent contract with the Washington Mystics in 2021.