The Seattle Storm and the Connecticut Sun will be missing their respective head coaches when they face each other for the first time this season Tuesday night, May 25.
Dan Hughes left the Storm to attend the graduation of his son on Tuesday, and is expected to return Wednesday. It’s uncertain if Hughes will be available for the game Friday after going through WNBA protocols.
Associate coach Gary Kloppenburg, who guided the Storm to a WNBA championship last season when Hughes wasn’t cleared medically to coach, will take over once again.
Meanwhile, the Sun is without Curt Miller, who was fined $10,000 and suspended one game following disparaging comments he made to a referee about Las Vegas center Liz Cambage on Sunday night.
In the fourth quarter of Connecticut’s 72-64 victory, Cambage drew a foul and television cameras caught Miller yelling at game officials while she said something in the direction of the Sun bench.
In an Instagram post, Cambage said Miller told the ref, “C’mon she’s 300 pounds,” and Cambage took offense to the characterization.
“I’m weighing 235 pounds and I’m very proud of being a big (expletive), big body, big Benz, baby,” the 6-foot-8 post player said. “So don’t ever try to disrespect me or another woman in the league.”
The 29-year-old Cambage, a three-time WNBA All-Star and 2018 league scoring champion, admitted she partakes in in-game trash talking with players, but said she believes Miller’s comments crossed the line.
Miller, who will miss his first game with Connecticut since being hired in 2016, issued a statement Monday morning apologizing to Cambage and the Aces organization.
“I made an inappropriate and offensive comment in reference to Liz Cambage’s height and weight,” Miller said in a statement released by the Sun. “I regret what I said in the heat of the moment and want to sincerely apologize to Liz and the entire Aces organization. I understand the gravity of my words and have learned from this.”
Reaction to Miller’s punishment around the WNBA has been mixed.
Minnesota guard Lexi Brown, who spent the 2018 season in Connecticut, said in a Tweet that she has witnessed similar comments from Miller.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation to be in a women’s league and for comments to be made,” Storm guard Jordin Canada said. “I don’t really have much to say because it’s not my situation.”
The Storm (3-1) returns home with consecutive victories after the two-game road trip last week to Minnesota and Dallas.
Seattle now plays five consecutive games at Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena, which is its longest homestand of the season.
More honors for Breanna Stewart
Seattle forward Breanna Stewart was named the WNBA Western Conference player of the week Monday.
In her first four games, she averaged a league-leading 25.8 points and ranks third in the league in rebounds (10.5) and fifth in blocks (2.3).
Stewart put on a show in her last outing and led Seattle to a 100-97 overtime victory at Dallas while finishing with 36 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
It was the fifth time in WNBA history a player recorded at least 35 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a game. In her 124th game, the 26-year-old Stewart also became the fastest player to record 2,500 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Stewart also is the fourth fastest player in league history to reach the 2,500-point plateau.
“What can you say?” Hughes said. “I feel so fortunate to watch brilliance on the court at 66. … She just scores in so many variety of ways and contributes in so many ways to the team culture while she’s doing it. And she has a level of toughness. The way she can create offense, but at the same time within a structure of a team that’s the absolute beauty of Stewie in a lot of ways.
“This is not isolation basketball per se. This is not her taking a lot of shots time in and time out. She’s usually very, very efficient. What it is a player that can score in so many ways — face up, inside, get to the line and all those things. You just feel fortunate if you have a great love of basketball to be that close to the court to watch her at work.”