Weepless in Seattle

“The light has gone out of my life.”

That’s what Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his diary on the day his first wife, Alice, died in 1884. In The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Edmund Morris described how the future president utilized his own way to cope: “With the exception of two brief, written valedictories to Alice—one private, one for limited circulation among family and friends—there is no record of Roosevelt ever mentioning her name again.”

If you’re a Seattle Storm fan, maybe that’s how you prefer to deal with Breanna Stewart’s decision to sign with the New York Liberty.

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Will somebody please buy Ezi Magbegor a French press?

It’s no secret that Ezi Magbegor is a fan favorite here at Witty Weather Pun.

That’s why the editorial staff (me) was left stunned at Tuesday’s revelation from the 22-year-old.

Ezi doesn’t drink coffee!? In Seattle!? What’s next, is Ezi going to walk through the tunnel at Climate Pledge Arena in an Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers jersey?

This isn’t meant to reflect any negativity toward hot chocolate, a beverage that possesses a number of positive qualities. On a cold winter night, it’s always great to curl up on the couch with a warm mug of hot cocoa. But it’s no substitute for coffee, a true nectar of the gods and a necessity to begin the day.

Ezi’s disclosure raises further questions.

If she’s not drinking coffee, what is her morning routine like?

Since she described it as her “go-to drink order,” how often is she getting hot chocolate? Is there some sort of Swiss Miss or Ghirardelli endorsement in her future?

More than anything, how is this possible?

Australia.com—the definitive authority on all things Australian—says Melbourne is “known globally for its coffee obsession” and “offers more than 2,000 cafés as well as some of the world’s best baristas.” It sounds like Melbourne is basically the Seattle of Australia. Has Ezi never patronized one of the city’s apparently many fine roasteries?

I was a bit of an early adopter to coffee myself. I didn’t begin drinking it until after I had graduated college and my parents bought me a Keurig for Christmas. So judge not, that ye be not judged.

In order to remedy the problem, it is incumbent upon Ezi’s teammates or Storm fans if need be to purchase her a coffee maker, a grinder and beans from a local Seattle coffee shop. This grave injustice must persist no more.

Scary Hours: Will Gabby Williams help lift the Seattle Storm over the top?

When it comes to the Seattle Storm’s WNBA championship hopes in 2022, one former UConn player could hold all of the cards—just not the one you’re thinking of.

There’s no question that re-signing Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart was imperative for Seattle to remain a title threat this offseason. But maintaining the status quo probably wasn’t going to cut it for the Storm to improve upon a fourth-place finish in 2021.

That’s why general manager Talisa Rhea sent Katie Lou Samuelson and the No. 9 overall pick in the 2022 draft to the Los Angeles Sparks for Gabby Williams.

“Gabby is a versatile player that brings a dynamic skill set to our team,” Rhea said in February at the time of the deal. “As we have watched her develop in the WNBA and excel internationally we are thrilled she will be joining us in Seattle and believe she can have immediate impact on our roster.”

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Are the Seattle Storm signing another former UConn star? (No, not that one.)

Beyond a few procedural moves and applying the core designation to Jewell Loyd, it has been a tame offseason for the Seattle Storm so far. That might be about to change.

The Athletic’s Chantel Jennings reported free-agent big Stefanie Dolson is down to two finalists: the Storm and the New York Liberty. Beyond potentially adding the two-time All-Star, Seattle’s pursuit of Dolson could send a big message about what the team plans to do with Mercedes Russell.

Russell is a restricted free agent, which allows the Storm to match any offer sheet she receives. That doesn’t guarantee she’ll be back, though. Seattle’s front office may have a firm dollar figure in mind for the 2018 second-round pick. Should another team meet or exceed that amount, then the franchise could be prepared to lose a center who has been a key cog over the last few years.

Those are the sacrifices one has to make when your two best players are free agents and only five players are under contract. You can’t keep everybody.

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Storm Free Agency Preview: I’ve got a blank space, baby

Talisa Rhea, it’s your time to shine.

The Seattle Storm promoted Rhea to general manager in April 2021, by which time the team had already executed their biggest offseason moves. While she had been the assistant GM under Alisha Valavanis since 2019, she hasn’t yet had the opportunity to truly leave her imprint on the roster.

That will change this winter.

The Storm’s official roster at the moment is a bit sparse.

This was likely entirely by design based on Seattle’s offseason business in 2021. The team didn’t re-sign Alysha Clark and traded the pair of Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb, both of whom were free agents, to the New York Liberty. While that hindered the Storm’s chances of successfully defending their WNBA title, it cleared the deck for 2022, when they had a slew of players out of contract including Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, Mercedes Russell and Jordin Canada.

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The Morning After: Guess You Should’ve Led by 20

You might think you are in control when you take a 19-point lead on the Seattle Storm. Alas, you have merely fallen into Dan Hughes’ well orchestrated plan.

Many people (myself included) left the Storm for dead at halftime. A late layup by Breanna Stewart made it a 15-point game in favor of the Minnesota Lynx, who were seemingly scoring at will inside with Sylvia Fowles. This was two days after the Las Vegas Aces pounded Seattle for 48 points in the paint, and the same story appeared to be playing out Tuesday.

But a second-half surge, including a 37-point fourth quarter, propelled the reigning WNBA champions to a 90-78 victory on the road. Jewell Loyd, Jordin Canada and Sue Bird combined for 60 points to compensate for Stewart’s off night. The team combined to go 12-of-25 from beyond the arc, claiming a 21-point edge in three-point shooting.

To borrow the soccer cliche, this was truly a game of two halves.

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The Morning Before: 2 Las 2 Vegas

Three days after beating the Las Vegas Aces 97-83 in their 2021 WNBA season opener, the Seattle Storm will be back in action against the 2020 runners-up.

The curtain-raiser couldn’t have gone much better after a shaky start for Seattle. Early into the first quarter it appeared as if the Storm would struggle to handle Las Vegas’ frontcourt combination of A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage. While Wilson ultimately finished with 24 points, her efforts proved to be futile as Seattle buried the Aces under a barrage of three-pointers.

As great as the defending WNBA champions looked, fans would be wise to recall the team’s start to the 2018 season. The Storm fell to the Phoenix Mercury in their opener before earning a 16-point win three days later en route to standing tall at the end of the year.

Saturday was a reminder of why Seattle could potentially lift another title despite losing Natasha Howard and Alysha Clark in the offseason. The discourse could shift a bit if the Aces bounce back with a comprehensive win Tuesday. Here are some storylines to watch.

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Alright Bet: Seattle Storm 2021 Preview

This offseason, the Seattle Storm decided winning a WNBA title had simply become too easy and that it was time to raise the level of difficulty. That’s the only explanation, right?

By almost any measure, the Storm endured a tough offseason, one that left the roster weaker than it was when Seattle was celebrating a second Finals win in three years. Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb were traded to the New York Liberty, while Alysha Clark signed with the Washington Mystics.Kennedy Burke, Candice Dupree, Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and Stephanie Talbot arrived in their place, with 2020 first-round draft pick Kitija Laksa making the jump to the WNBA as well.

Perhaps team president Alisha Valavanis and first-year general manager Talisa Rhea could’ve been more aggressive in making short-term moves to put the Storm in as strong a position as possible to successfully defend their title. With a number of key players due to hit free agency, though, it didn’t make sense for Seattle to tie its hands financially.

Last year, the Storm were just better than everybody else. Their .818 winning percentage was the second-best in franchise history. Especially with a number of notable players across the league absent, Seattle had too much talent and too much depth to get seriously tested when it mattered. The team swept the Minnesota Lynx in the semifinals before winning three straight games over the Las Vegas Aces, who had 2020 MVP A’ja Wilson, by double digits in the WNBA Finals.

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Playing the Long Game

Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters by the largest margin ever less than a year after becoming a professional. Later that season, he was victorious in the Byron Nelson Classic. He was 21 and poised to dominate the PGA Tour.

Instead, Woods decided to totally revamp his golf swing. While that meant taking a step backward in the short term as he figured things out, it laid the groundwork for one of the most dominant stretches in the sport’s history. By tweaking his swing to emphasize control over power, Woods perfected his game and ensured he would continue to stay miles ahead of the competition. If he doesn’t think proactively, then the Tiger Slam probably never happens.

On Wednesday, Seattle Storm general manager Alisha Valavanis changed the team’s swing.

Having already lost Alysha Clark to free agency, Seattle traded Natasha Howard to the New York Liberty for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 WNBA draft, the Phoenix Mercury’s 2022 first-rounder and the Liberty’s 2022 second-rounder. The Storm flipped the No. 1 pick to the Dallas Wings for Katie Lou Samuelson and a 2022 second-rounder while simultaneously sending the Phoenix pick to the Minnesota Lynx for Mikiah Herbert Harrigan. Sami Whitcomb also went to the Liberty in a sign-and-trade for the rights to Stephanie Talbot.

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The Morning After: Hollywood Divorce

When you draw the Chennedy Carter assignment

The Seattle Storm hanged on to beat the Atlanta Dream 93-92 on Thursday night, and one rookie has the WNBA abuzz coming out of the game.

Yes, Ezi Magbegor hit the first three-pointer of her WNBA career, leaving her only 1,116 short of breaking Diana Taurasi’s all-time record. With as quickly as Ezi is progressing, don’t be surprised if she surpasses that mark by her fourth season.

Breanna Stewart had a team-high 27 points and eight rebounds in the victory, while Jewell Loyd chipped in 20 points in what was a shaky shooting night.

The Storm simply didn’t have a solution for Chennedy Carter, who finished with 35 points. The Dream guard is undoubtedly the favorite to finish runner-up to Ezi in the 2020 Rookie of the Year race.

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