LAS VEGAS — It was a historic weekend for a native of the Chicago area as the best in the WNBA took the floor in Las Vegas.
For Jewell Loyd, it was actually a way to make her parent’s big day a little extra special.
The Lincolnwood native, former Niles West standout, and Seattle Storm guard scored a WNBA All-Star Game record 31 points for the team being led by Breanna Stewart in a 143-127 win over Team A’ja Wilson at Michelob Ultra Arena on Saturday night.
Loyd was 10-22 from the field with all her made field goals coming from behind the three-point line, where she went 10-21. It was enough to earn her the game’s Most Valuable Player Award as she lifted up the new and much bigger trophy after the contest.
So what motivated this big performance?
“I think I played hard because my parents didn’t have a gift for their anniversary, so I think this will be acceptable,” said Loyd. “I hope it is. So it was more so to kind of gift for my parents.”
It’s the first MVP award for Loyd in her fifth-consecutive All-Star Game as she grows into one of the best players in the game. Getting the top honor in the contest was a pregame goal for the guard, who has won two WNBA championships and made the league’s first team in 2021.
“It was a goal of mine, to be honest with you. It was a plan of mine. But at the same time my niece and nephew wanted me to go for it, so anything for them, right?” said Loyd.
This continues the best season of Loyd’s WNBA career as she currently leads the league in scoring with 25.7 points per game in a year of transition in Seattle. She’s had to step up her production in 2023 due to Stewart leaving for the Liberty in free agency this past offseason and Sue Bird’s retirement.
Loyd’s play is the bright spot in a tough first half for the Storm, who are 4-16 on the season.
“I think it all started in the offseason for me. It was definitely a different approach in what I did. I knew that things would be different coming back to Seattle,” said Loyd. “So I prepared probably the hardest I’ve ever done in anything, knowing that I would just need it physically and mentally. But at the same time, I’m just trying to stay present as possible.
“I don’t try to think too much ahead or worry about anything I can’t really control. Just stay ten toes down.”