Back in 2004, Sue Bird played in her first WNBA Finals game, just three seasons into her career. Sixteen years later, she's still helping the Seattle Storm chase titles, and is still one of the best point guards in the league. It didn't take her long to prove that on Friday night as she made history in Game 1 of the 2020 WNBA Finals. Bird only scored two points, but she dished out 16 assists in the Storm's 93-80 win, setting a new career-high, and a WNBA playoff record.
Just a few minutes into the game, Bird came off the pick-and-roll and found a wide open Jewell Loyd on the wing. The young guard buried the 3-pointer for the Storm's first points of the game, and Bird's first assist. From there, she was off. She racked up 10 assists in the first half alone, and kept on rolling after the break.
A few minutes into the second half, Bird called for another high pick-and-roll, this time with Breanna Stewart. Driving left off the screen, Bird dropped a smooth pocket pass between the Las Vegas Aces defenders, setting Stewart up with a wide-open mid-range jumper. Stewart caught nothing but net, giving Bird her 12th assist of the game, which set a record for most assists in a Finals game.
Bird wasn't done, however, and in the middle of the fourth quarter she kept improving on her historic game. After playing catch with Loyd, Bird spotted Stewart down on the block, and whipped a pass inside. Again, Stewart repaid her, hitting a turnaround jumper to give Bird her 16th assist on the game. That set a new WNBA playoff record, and also extended Bird's career-high.
Bird is also the WNBA's all-time assists leader, registering 2,831 in her historic career. She has nearly 1,000 more assists than the next closest active player, Diana Taurasi.