Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Stewart leads Storm to WNBA title; Wins finals MVP

Stewart leads Storm to WNBA title; Wins finals MVP

We went through a rebuild a couple of years ago, and who's to say we'd get here this quickly. "One game leads us to what we've been working for for four months, and just having that mindset".

Breanna Stewart scored 30 points and took home the finals MVP award as the Seattle Storm claimed their third WNBA title with a 98-82 win over the Washington Mystics on Wednesday, September 12. She finished with 29 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

She became the sixth player in WNBA history to be named regular season and Finals MVP in the same year, joining last year's victor Sylvia Fowles (2017), former Storm star Lauren Jackson (2010), Phoenix's Diana Taurasi (2009) and a pair of legends in Lisa Leslie (2001) and Cynthia Cooper (1997, 1998).

The Storm were lead by 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart, who averaged 20.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

The Storm built a 46-30 halftime lead thanks to a dominant, 21-10 run in the final six minutes of the second quarter.

"Way at the beginning, I said at the start, I was exhausted of losing", said Stewart, the Finals and league MVP.

The Mystics had no answers for Stewart and Howard and that was before Alysha Clark added 15 points and nine rebounds and Bird notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. "It's probably going to get a little harder from here to be honest, but I think she's ready for it". The three-point play sparked Seattle to pull away. Our team went through a rebuild and yes, I chose to stay. It didn't go our way, but you've got to keep things in perspective, and everybody else in the league wishes that they were playing tonight, and so we're very aware of that and thankful that we were here, and we know we can improve.

The coach sensed something brewing early in his first year with the franchise.

"They clearly were the best team from start to finish, in my opinion", Thibault said. You just never know. "This team made a lot of great strides from last year to this year". "If I'm exhausted, she can guard [Elena] Delle Donne, and if she's exhausted, I can do it".

The sellout crowd of 9,164 at EagleBank Arena screamed: "De-fense, De-fense", one last rally cry for a Washington Mystics facing elimination for the fourth time this season.

"You're only going to impact [Delle Donne and Toliver] to a degree", Hughes said.

Toliver, seated next to the first-team All-WNBA player, chimed in. "I felt more and more uncomfortable as we kept going".

Wednesday's Game 3, while not at Key Arena in Seattle, was no different.

Since changing to a best-of-five format for the Finals in 2005, no WNBA team has gone down 2-0 and recovered to force a Game 5. They forgot about their past, which included seven straight playoffs losses on the road and focused entirely on Game 3. The Mystics joined that unwanted club. "But our perimeter shooting allowed us to create some separation and then we managed the game pretty well". The Mystics were 8 for 23 in Game 3 and 11 for 60 (18.3 percent) in the series. "We were champions again".

This is likely just the beginning for the dynamic 24-year-old forward, who won the NCAA Championship during each of her four seasons at the University of CT.

"Honestly, it didn't feel like my first WNBA Finals close-out game", she said "I think the way I looked at it was just another game".

Bird understands her career is nearing the end, even though she remains among the league's best.

The University of CT women's basketball coach sat next to his long-time assistant Chris Daley watching the most decorated player they'd ever coach do what she always does - win. "This isprobably going to be one of the defining moments of my career".

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