Seattle’s Mamba Made of Gold


The core of a successful franchise is usually made up of a big three and Seattle’s big three are Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, and Jewell Loyd. Stewart and Bird are notable future Hall of Famers for the franchise, but Loyd is not any less important for the Storm’s success. She has been with the Storm for eight seasons and looks to strike the competition on her way to a third WNBA championship. Striking fear into the hearts of her competitors is what the Gold Mamba does best.

The Mamba Strikes Irish Gold

Loyd attended the University of Notre Dame from 2012 to 2015. In three seasons, Loyd won 108 games and lost six making it to the national championship twice. However, UCONN was the only team that prevented the Irish from finding gold at the end of the rainbow. In her freshman year, she started 35 games and averaged 12.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game leading the Irish to 35 wins and two losses. Loyd scored her career-high 27 points in her NCAA tournament debut against Tennesee-Martin.

In her Sophomore year, she started 37 games scoring double digits in every game. Loyd averaged 18.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and a team-high 1.6 steals per game. She led the Irish in scoring winning 37 games and losing in the National Championship. Loyd also made the NCAA All-Tournament team with her Storm teammate Breanna Stewart.

In her junior year, Loyd started 39 games and scored double-digit points in 38. She averaged career-highs of 19.8 points, 3.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. The ESPNW National Player-of-The-Year won 32 games but lost two including the National Championship to UCONN again. Loyd became the first player in school history to score back-to-back 30-point games, scoring 31 against UCONN and 41 against DePaul.

Despite her coach not liking the idea, Loyd felt ready for the next level and she decided to skip her senior year to enter the 2015 WNBA draft.

Seattle Storm Select Jewell Loyd

The Seattle Storm selected Jewell Loyd with the first pick in the draft and despite not having great team success, she won rookie of the year in 2015. She averaged 10.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and shot 90% from the free-throw line as she gained respect from many people around the league. The biggest respect Loyd received was from a player in her basketball counterpart, Kobe Bryant. After watching her play, Bryant gave Loyd “The Gold Mamba” nickname complimenting her work ethic as well as her game.

The following year the Storm selected Stewart and create a big three that created dark clouds in Seattle.

Gold Mamba Gets Her Ring

Loyd improved and the Storm improved with the big three, but in 2018 the all-star was Seattle’s missing piece of the championship puzzle. In the playoffs, she averaged 12.1 points, 3.3 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game in her quest for a championship. In game one of the Finals against Washington, Loyd scored a game-high 23 points helping in the win and former Storm coach Dan Hughes spoke highly about Loyd’s part in the title run. “I think Jewell embodied what this team did,” Hughes said. “Jewell became a really well-rounded player this year. Her defense, her passing, her rebounding all encapsulated her look at the game. I think that represented a lot of what our team did, the different facets. She led the way in that regard.” Loyd excelled in her role and contributed greatly to the team’s success.

In 2020 the WNBA moved their season to Bradenton, Florida. The Gold Mamba struck fear into the hearts of her opponents whether it was with her cloudy offense or thunderous defense. Loyd averaged 17.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per playoff game, and winning her second WNBA championship meant the most to her because she was without her mentor. “This year has been a lot for me,” Loyd said, choking up. “This is for Kobe, Gigi, and the Bryant family. We had a lot of emotions coming into this game. For me, this season, I had to pay to him.”

The Gold Mamba kept on winning and earned her nickname while representing her country and contributing to their Olympics history.

Seattle’s Mamba Earns Olympic Gold

On her first trip to the Olympics, Loyd earned her first gold medal representing Team USA. In the 2020 Olympics, she averaged 4.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in her debut season. She has a career record of six wins and lost zero contests to go along with her medal. Loyd is no stranger to playing internationally as she participated in the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women in 2010 and she also played in the 2018 FIBA World Cup and the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournament in 2022. With Loyd still improving, her Olympic journey is only beginning and she is a big part of Team USA’s future.

The Gold Mamba Will Strike Again

Loyd impacts the game as a third option on the Storm and a secondary scorer behind Stewart but she is also the go-to option when the game is on the line. As she pursues a third championship in 2022, the Gold Mamba will look to contribute to the team’s success in the Emerald City. Her “Mamba Mentality” will strike fear into the hearts of her opponents and brand her a cold-blooded killer in Seattle.

About Brenden Potts

Brenden is an American writer and Washington State University Sport Management student in Pullman Washington. He has less than a year of writing experience getting started with The Lead. He writes about the Seattle Storm for The Lead.

Recommended for you

Powered by