Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart signs with Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg

9:02 AM ET


CloseMechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart, less than a year removed from tearing her right Achilles tendon, has signed with UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia and will return to EuroLeague play this season, it was announced Friday. She is also signed for next season with UMMC.

Stewart, the 2018 WNBA MVP, was playing for UMMC’s rival Dynamo Kursk when she was injured on April 14, 2019, during the EuroLeague final four championship game. That caused her to miss the entire 2019 WNBA season.

She returned to competitive action with the U.S. national team in exhibition games against her alma mater, UConn, on Jan. 27 and Louisville on Feb. 2.

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Then Stewart was part of the American squad that won its Olympic qualifying tournament in Serbia held Feb. 6-9. She played in two of the U.S.’s three games and averaged 10.0 points and 3.0 rebounds. Stewart is expected to be part of her second Olympic team this summer at the Tokyo Games.

Thursday, the Storm announced that Stewart had re-signed with Seattle, which drafted her No. 1 in 2016 and won the 2018 WNBA title.

UMMC is perennially one of the top overseas teams and is seeking its sixth EuroLeague title. There are two weeks left in the EuroLeague regular season.

The majority of WNBA players since the league began in 1997 have gone overseas to play in the winter months, at least for a portion of their careers. The WNBA’s new collective bargaining agreement will attempt to curtail that in the coming years, but for now it’s still a revenue opportunity that many players don’t want to bypass.

“For me, it’s something that makes sense financially,” Stewart, 25, said last month before the UConn exhibition. “Playing EuroLeague is a very high level. And my window is short. Maybe when I’m 30, I won’t want to [play overseas]. But right now I want to play as much as I can.”

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