Sport

Stewart powers Storm to WNBA title

Stewart powers Storm to WNBA title

But the score won't come close to telling the true story.

The Storm did it in style, completing a three-game sweep of the Washington Mystics on Wednesday with a 98-82 win in Fairfax, Virginia. For any player in the league, that's a lot, but for Stewart it's become nearly expected. After losing a combined 39 games in her first two seasons, including a pair of single-elimination playoff losses, the perennial victor knew it was time for a change.

She joins fellow former Huskies Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, and Kara Wolters on that list of 11 NCAA, WNBA, Olympic and FBIA champs. I just wanted to bridge that gap as fast as I could, and they've been great. "We're only out there on the court a little bit of time together, but the moments that we spend hanging out in the airport, playing 'would you rather, ' hanging out, getting dinner together, those are the moments that are so special, and what we're actually probably going to miss the most now that this season has ended". I didn't know if I'd be back to the finals ever again. She's figured it out. First-year coach Dan Hughes notched the biggest turnaround in franchise history, and the Storm set single-season records for points (2,966) and assists (721), as well as a WNBA record for three's made (307). "One game leads us to what we've been working for for four months, and just having that mindset".

After previously declining to discuss her left knee injury because she did not want to make excuses, the Deleware native opened up about how the ailment affected her play.

Lost in all of that Game 5 commotion was Stewart's strong performance, something that Bird said happens too often.

What Stewart has done the seven years since is no surprise to her.

Forward Natasha Howard added a career-high 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Storm. She truly was the MVP of these Finals. She scored 17 points in the first half as the Storm raced to a 47-30 lead. They stopped the bleeding and held off the Mystics' final push before pulling away in the closing minutes.

"But when it got to eight, we kind of - we were calm". We knew it wasn't going to be easy.

Stewart had the ball in her hands in the final seconds of the game, nonchalantly tossing it ahead as the buzzer sounded before turning around and embracing Bird to celebrate the title.

It's the Western Conference franchise's third National Basketball Association championship after Australian Lauren Jackson led the side to titles in 2004 and 2010.

As bedlam burst and champagne poured, Breanna Stewart stood tall inside the cramped, plastic-lined visitor's locker room and allowed herself a smile of gratification.

"Sue's done everything for me", Stewart told ESPN reporter Holly Rowe after the game. She was back in familiar territory, back to the normal feeling of winning at the highest level.

The ultra-confident, steely cool Stewart had a feeling about this game, just as she had a feeling about this series and this season.

Howard was a deep reserve for Minnesota during the Lynx's title run previous year, averaging 1.1 points and 0.9 points.

They know the road back to the Finals is tough, and the WNBA gets better every year, but the Mystics are in a position to stay atop the league now that the franchise's most successful season to date is in the books. And with Stewart just turning 24 a few weeks ago, she is likely destined for the same.

"I have seen her with the national team this last Olympics", Team USA assistant coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. "So hopefully everybody goes off to wherever they're going this offseason but continues to improve, get better, and then come back and regroup and build off of this season". "And so we're poised to get better".


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