Running Point: In Her First WNBA Season, Ivana Dojkić Is a Seasoned Pro

Starting point guard for the Seattle Storm–there’s one name, and one name only, that comes to mind. When you picture someone dribbling the ball up the floor for the four-time WNBA champions, it’s impossible not to see Sue Bird.

When Bird announced that 2022 would be her final season conducting the Storm offense, the conversation quickly turned to who could possibly fill that void. While no one could be expected to come in and be what Bird was—and is—to Seattle, there is a new face already continuing the tradition of strong point guard play for the Storm.

In Seattle’s first Bird-less season, rookie Ivana Dojkić has grabbed a firm hold on the starting point guard spot.

In an early season showdown against the Washington Mystics, all eyes were on Bird as a crowd of over 13,000 watched her number go up into the rafters of Climate Pledge Arena. During the game, however, the young Storm, no longer with Bird or Breanna Stewart, struggled to put an ounce of fear into the Mystics. But just as most were thinking of taking their final bathroom break or grabbing popcorn in advance of the postgame ceremony, something changed. 

Seattle went on a 15-0 fourth-quarter run, dwindling Washington’s lead to just six. As Ariel Atkins looked to feed Natasha Cloud and bring the Storm run to a halt, Dojkić shot into the passing lane, keeping Cloud from getting a true handle on the ball. The first-year guard from Croatia ran out in transition, with no defenders between her and the hoop. Dojkić drove up for the layup as Cloud connected with her shooting hand, sending her to the line to whittle down the Mystics lead even further. 



The late heroics came up just short, as the Storm fell 71-65. Bird received her flowers, and Seattle was set to continue forward with their transitional season. Ironically, Bird’s jersey retirement coincided with the delivery of a new starting point guard in Seattle.

Dojkić’s 12-point, four-assist performance—where she was perfect from the field and free-throw line—came in only her fifth WNBA game, all coming off the bench. Since then, she has started every game.*

“[I’m] giving energy and passion for the basketball, trying to stay focused for all the minutes that I’m on the court,” Dojkić said after her first career start. “[Starting] was surprising for me, but I’m here to take everything as an opportunity. I just want to give the best of me for the team.” 

Prior to heading to the States, Dojkić played for Virtus Segafredo Bologna in Serie A1, Italy’s top division. Her most recent season with Bologna was the ninth of her professional basketball career at only 25 years old. She also represented her home country of Croatia during the 2021 FIBA EuroBasket tournament, where she averaged 20.3 points per game (PPG), which ranked third behind only Jonquel Jones and Emma Meesseman, according to FIBA Stats.

“I know we talk about (Dojkić) being a rookie, but she’s played pro ball,” Storm head coach Noelle Quinn said. “I don’t look at her as a rookie, even though I know she’s a rookie in this league. The confidence that she exudes…it’s important to know that she’s rounding into who I know she can be. Offensively—shooting the three, spacing the floor, and getting us into our sets. But defensively…her activity level in passing lanes, she sets the tone on that end of the floor.”

When Dojkić is in transition, she has a full view of the court. Whether that vision tells her to get the ball to Jewell Loyd for a bucket, finding Sami Whitcomb on the wing, or Ezi Magbegor in the post, Dojkić is going to put the ball in the right spot. 

This season, she has already stuffed the stat sheet with a 10-assist, six-rebound game against the Minnesota Lynx. She tallied nine assists a couple nights before, too. When self-creation opportunities are there, though, she won’t shy away. Dojkić has already scored in double digits six times this season, five of those since her infusion to the starting lineup. The one double-digit showing off the bench? Bird’s retirement game, Dojkić’s last to-date as a reserve.

Before the season, Dojkić missed Seattle’s sole preseason game due to overseas commitments with Bologna. She joined the team a week and a half prior to their first regular season game, with only a week to find her bearings in training camp. In Seattle’s season opener, she still played 17 minutes, scoring seven points on 3-of-4 from the field.

“When (Dojkić) came in, she picked up everything so fast,” Jordan Horston, fellow Storm rookie, said. “Stuff that I was trying to pick up in a week, she got in the first day [with the team].”

“[The WNBA] is different,” Dojkić said. “Different style of practices, different style of games. It’s still basketball, but sometimes you can really feel like it’s another way of the game [compared to Europe].”

Humbleness aside, she is an immediate presence in the WNBA, impacting the game in a number of ways through only half of her first season in the league.

Dojkić gets to play alongside the league’s leading scorer and All-Star MVP in Loyd, as well as another All-Star in Magbegor. Loyd’s contract is up at the end of this season. It’s unclear whether she will choose to remain Seattle’s franchise player or head elsewhere to contend for a title. Her scoring prowess opens up infinite facilitating opportunities for Dojkić as a pass-first guard. 

Averaging 7.5 PPG, 3.1 assists per game (APG), and 2.0 rebounds per game (RPG) while shooting 41.8 percent from three, Dojkić has a strong case to make the All-Rookie team.

“You see her poise, you see her confidence, you see how she understands the game.

“In free agency, [Dojkić] said she likes to play-make. But I know—I mean she’s Croatian—she likes to score as well,” Quinn laughed. “Having both of those, seeing the game in both ways, and being on the floor in both [playmaking and passing]roles helps her. She’s versatile; we can rely on her to initiate and get us into [our]offense, but also she can shoot, so she can space the floor.”


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Dojkić signed a one-year rookie contract during the offseason, making her eligible for a reserved qualifying offer next offseason, according to HerHoopStats. If Seattle extends the qualifying offer, Dojkić could be in the green and yellow for at least one more season. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be any reason that wouldn’t happen. Dojkić gives the Storm a young, but seasoned, starting point guard to help expedite their rebuild.


*Dojkic was held out of Tuesday’s game (July 25) against the New York Liberty due to a coach’s decision.


Stats as of 7/25. Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of

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