Stewart led the Storm to their third WNBA title Wednesday night, scoring 30 points in a 98-82 victory over the Washington Mystics in Game 3 of the best-of-five series.
"It doesn't feel real yet, honestly", WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart said after the game. "I'm just so thankful that we were both playing in Russian Federation at the time and that we just met because we connected instantly, and that's been my person that I go to about everything in my life". ".We had a goal and that was to win a championship and every one of us, 1-12, the coaching staff, our entire staff helped us reach this point". Howard finished the first half with 17 points and eight rebounds, shooting 5-of-6 from the field. It took a 14-point fourth-quarter performance from a facemask-adorning Bird in Game 5 to ensure the Storm weren't on the wrong side of the record books.
Bird was just in her third WNBA season, while Thibault was far from being the winningest coach in league history as he was just in his second WNBA season. Yet less than a minute later, the Storm had the lead back to 15 points, completely shutting the Mystics down.
The Storm were 27-3 this season when leading after the third quarter heading into the game.
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It's when people say things like, 'There's no basketball in Seattle anymore.' Or, like, 'We need pro basketball back in Seattle.' They're talking about how the Sonics are gone. From there, it was smooth sailing to the 16-point win.
"That's the Stewie I remember", Auriemma said. "I was fine where I was, but boy I would have missed a lot of joy that being part of watching this group grow".
But it was also a coming out party for Stewart, the league MVP, who delivered time and again.
League MVP Breanna Stewart top-scored for the Storm with 30 points to earn the nod as the Finals' best player after averaging 25.6 points across the three games.
Natasha Howard added career-high 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Storm and first-year coach Dan Hughes. Their combined 59 points alone accounted for more than 61 percent of the Storms' points.
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"Each (championship) is special in its own way, but this one is probably going to have a different meaning for me", said the 37-year-old point guard who had 10 points and 10 assists.
Stewart, Bird and Delle Donne could all join Team USA before they open play at the FIBA Women's World Cup beginning September 22 in Spain. Stewart, the MVP, and Loyd carried the scoring for much of the season, combining for almost 40 points per game. Her running mate for Seattle's first two titles was Lauren Jackson. Seattle could become just the sixth franchise in league history to win three or more titles and join the defunct Houston Comets as the only franchise to have never lost a Finals appearance.
Voting for the All-WNBA First and Second Teams was conducted at the conclusion of the regular season.
Perhaps opposing teams are being more careful defending Delle Donne, because when she does get to the line, she's automatic.
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