Storm’s Jewell Loyd got weekend trip home along with playing in WNBA All-Star Game

CHICAGO — Jewell Loyd squeezed every minute out of a relatively short trip home for the WNBA All-Star Game. 

Admittedly, the Storm star and Lincolnwood, Illinois, native didn’t get much rest during the past three days, but that’s OK.  

“I’m surrounded by my family and they’re giving me energy, so I’m good,” Loyd said. “This is home. It’s a comforting feeling for sure being back here.” 

Loyd grew up about 15 miles away from Wintrust Arena, where she scored 21 points and tied a WNBA All-Star Game record with seven three-pointers for Team Stewart, which lost 134-112 to Team Wilson on Sunday. 

The game wasn’t necessarily the highlight for Loyd, who jam packed her schedule with events.  

Take Saturday for instance. She woke up at 5 a.m. at her home in Northbrook, Illinois, before driving into the city for a 7:30 a.m. basketball camp, in which she hosted 10 girls from Chicago Hope Academy. 

“They came in and they were hungry,” Loyd said. “They beat me to the gym. They’re great kids. It meant a lot to have them here.” 

Loyd took part in WNBA All-Star interviews at 11 a.m. before a noon practice with Team Stewart. Two hours later, she participated in the 3-Point Contest, tallied 18 points and was eliminated after the first round. 

Was Loyd upset by a dismal outing in the shooting event? 

“Nah. Right after that, I took my nephew and niece downtown and we went shopping,” said Loyd, who visited Chicago’s downtown Nike store, which showcased her new sneaker Kyrie Low 5 EP Community EP “Jewell Loyd.” “That was cool to see all of that with them.” 

And the night ended with Loyd hosting a dinner for family and friends at Sweetwater Tavern and Grille on Michigan Avenue. 

Loyd got off to a slow start Sunday — she was the last All-Star to enter the game — before getting hot late, leading a comeback attempt that fell short. 

Following the game, Loyd made a quick exit out of the locker room and raced home for a family cookout at her house. She spent Sunday night at home and had planned to catch an early Monday flight before the Storm’s practice. 

The Storm (15-8) host Dallas (10-12) at noon Tuesday. 

“It’s a quick turnaround for sure,” Loyd said. “I was going to leave Sunday night, but I had to get one more night in my bed. … It’s just so nice to see everyone. It’s good weather. It’s great time in Chicago.” 

Big changes coming to WNBA

Before the WNBA All-Star Game, commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced the league will charter flights for this year’s WNBA Finals teams, increase playoff bonuses and move to a 40-game regular-season schedule — four more than this season — in 2023. 

Engelbert said there are no immediate plans to expand the league but hopes to add two teams in 2024 and “no later than 2025.” 

“That’s the good news,” Engelbert said. “Now we have to find the right ownership groups with the right commitment and financial wherewithal to really be committed to standing up a WNBA team in their city.” 

Engelbert said one of her top priorities is the league’s upcoming media rights negotiations. WNBA’s deal with ESPN expires in 2024.

“We need to find the right package more broadly for the WNBA,” she said. “We need to make it easier for fans to watch our games, to know where our games are.

“We have 160 games on national platforms this year, a record for the WNBA, which is great. We’re getting exposure, but I think our fans get frustrated: ‘Where do you find those games?’” 

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