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Storm Tracker: Stewart, major Swedish partnership elevates franchise

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The Seattle Storm have a history of having a great career for their number one draft picks. This year they welcome another overall number one pick with Breanna Stewart; their other draftee is Lexi Rydalch. Equally as import, the Storm have inked a partnership with Swedish Medical Center.

Chris Poss - Swish Appeal

Seattle, WA -- For the second season in a row, the Seattle Storm took full advantage of draft day, seizing the opportunity to not only draft arguably the most dominant college player in history, Breanna Stewart, but also by announcing a new multi-year marquee sponsorship deal with Swedish Medical Center. The largest deal by an independently owned team in WNBA history.

The day got off to an early start in Seattle as forbes.com announced the new multi-year partnership between the Storm and Swedish. The choice of publication showing just how far the WNBA has come in regards to its business acumen.

"This partnership with Swedish marks a very special day for our franchise," said Storm President & GM Alisha Valavanis. "Teaming up with this world-class medical provider will not only greatly benefit our athletes but also is designed to promote women's health, youth wellness education and community engagement."

Along with branding on Storm jerseys, the partnership makes Swedish the new healthcare provider for the Storm and also will help to increase the reach of both organizations within the Seattle community.

"This new partnership is an opportunity for Swedish to provide the highest quality healthcare to some of the most elite athletes in the world," said Andrew J. Cole, MD, Executive Director, Rehabilitation & Performance Medicine Enterprise, Swedish Medical Center.

"Words cannot express how excited we are to provide innovative approaches to proactive treatment and rehabilitation as the Official Medical Provider of the Storm."

In the evening, the Storm met all expectations by selecting Stewart with the first overall selection. Adding the most dominant player in NCAA history to the teams 2015 rookie core of Jewell Loyd, Ramu Tokashiki and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

Stewart, who has teamed with Mosqueda-Lewis for three championships at UConn and with Sue Bird on last fall's USA team, is excited about joining the storied Storm franchise.

"You look at their players; I've had the opportunity to play with them and against them, it's a great opportunity to build for the future and do some great things," said Stewart of the current Storm roster.  Despite the talented core of the roster and her own exploits, Stewart is aware and ready for the challenges transitioning from college to the pros presents.

"Making the jump, you want to have really really high expectations, but it's a process," she said. "You can't just snap your fingers and make it happen. I'm sure it's going to be a grind, but that's what basketball players do. They adapt and do whatever is needed to help their team win."

With their other selection, the 26th pick overall, the Storm added BYU guard,  Lexi Eaton Rydalch.

"We've had our eye on Lexi for a few years," said Storm head coach Jenny Boucek of the selection. "She's a great athlete and competitor, and we are excited to work with her."

The Storm have scheduled a press conference for April 21st to formally introduce Stewart and the new marquee partnership. The Storm tips off their season May 15th at Los Angeles.