MYNORTHWEST LIFESTYLE

‘I’ve never seen a girls’ basketball game sold out!’: Storm game wows Seattle youths

May 24, 2024, 6:02 PM | Updated: 6:29 pm

Image: Members of the 12-year-old girls' Seattle Rotary Lady Style Basketball team gathered at Clim...

Members of the 12-year-old girls' Seattle Rotary Lady Style Basketball team gathered at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle to see the Seattle Storm face Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Photo: Micki Gamez, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: Micki Gamez, KIRO Newsradio)

Fans packed Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle to watch the Seattle Storm take down the new face of the WNBA Caitlin Clark and her team, the Indiana Fever, Wednesday night.

More than 18,000 fans were in attendance to watch the Storm take on the Fever, including the 12-year-old girls’ Seattle Rotary Lady Style Basketball team.

More on the Seattle Storm: Caitlin Clark brings record crowd to game with Storm

“I am here to see Caitlin Clark, Jewell Loyd and Nika Muhl,” 12-year-old Alliyah, a guard for the Rotary basketball team, said. “It’s crazy because I’ve never seen a girls’ basketball game sold out!”

After she said that, she walked to meet her friends beaming from ear to ear.

“Watching the game tonight and the fans gives me hope for when I make it to the WNBA!” Alliyah’s teammate, GG, told KIRO Newsradio. “I want to be the next Caitlin Clark or a guard in my own right.”

The other young women in attendance said they were in awe of the sold-out game and couldn’t believe so many people were there to cheer on women’s basketball.

“My favorite part of the whole night is just being here,” Nyla, another girl on the rotary basketball team said.

“The support people are giving Caitlin Clark is pretty cool,” her teammate Khloe said. “The energy was like, wow, I don’t know how to describe it.”

Among the record-breaking crowd were local celebrity athletes including former Seattle SuperSonics player and University of Washington Huskies star Detlef Schrempf, former NBA star Isaiah Tomas, former Storm forward Gabby Williams and a few current and former Seattle Seahawks, including wide receiver Tyler Lockett. A few members of the Seahawks even went onto the court during a timeout to throw shirts into the crowd.

Tasha Burns, director and head coach of the Seattle Rotary Lady Style basketball team said she felt a great deal of satisfaction watching the Storm and watching her team of players watch the Storm.

“As a coach committed to inspiring young talent in basketball, witnessing the Seattle Storm make history was an incredible experience,” Burns said. “There was a lot of pride as I watched my players’ excitement. The Storm’s achievements serve as a powerful reminder that dreams are attainable with hard work, dedication and teamwork. It’s not just about winning games, it’s about breaking barriers and setting new standards.”

Image: Nika Muhl of the Seattle Storm, left, and Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever watch the action while a player shoots a free throw during their matchup at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

Nika Muhl of the Seattle Storm, left, and Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever watch the action while a player shoots a free throw during their matchup at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Photo: Steph Chambers, Getty Images)

No surprise, the crowd erupted when Seattle Storm rookie Nika Mühl was called to the court to make her professional debut, recording two rebounds in two minutes in the third quarter while also being used as the primary defender on Clark.

Mühl, the No. 14 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, couldn’t join the Storm for its first four games due to complications converting her student visa into a P1A work visa. Mühl is a Croatian citizen who used a student visa during her four-year tenure at the University of Connecticut.

More on local women’s basketball: UW star basketball player is living her dream, looking toward the future

Storm fans got to go home happy as Seattle won a tension-filled game 85-83 after a nail-biting ending. For those who missed this matchup, Clark and the Fever return to Climate Pledge Arena June 27.

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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‘I’ve never seen a girls’ basketball game sold out!’: Storm game wows Seattle youths