Before the Storm selected Stewart with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, the 6-4 forward arrived with the incredible hype befitting the only player to win four NCAA tournament titles and four Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four awards. By the time starting center LaToya Sanders sprained her ankle while saving a loose ball, eventually getting carried to the locker room, the game had largely gotten away from Washington. "I think that what we did as a team for these past four months, we had a goal and that was to win a championship".
"Seattle Stew" was officially born in 2018 as she took League and WNBA Finals MVP honors, eliminating any debate about who the LeBron James of the women's game will be going forward. A young Seattle team that lost in the first round the past two years and won just 15 games last season, obliterated Washington for its first crown since 2010. They forget about their past, which included seven straight playoff losses on the road and focused entirely on Game 3. Rightfully so, the team's 3-0 sweep of the Washington Mystics in the Finals caught the attention of National Basketball Association stars such LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, among others.
Now in its 22 season, the league continues its struggle for mainstream support. Veteran Sue Bird became the Storm's all-time leading scorer, and the WNBA's all-time assists leader. 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).
Bird returned from a broken nose suffered 48 hours earlier for masked heroics, in which she took over in the clutch while scoring 14 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter of a decisive Game 5 win in the semis. ".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".
"There's been a huge transformation with the culture of this team", said Delle Donne, who was acquired by Washington before the 2017 season.
After trailing 69-53 entering the fourth quarter, the Mystics rallied to within five points at 72-67 on a 3-pointer by Tierra Ruffin-Pratt with 6:49 remaining.
But the Mystics couldn't get any closer, as Finals MVP Breanna Stewart's three-point play on the ensuing possession ignited an 8-0 Seattle run that pushed the deficit back to double digits. I knew she was that elite level player and more importantly that elite level competitor that wanted to be the best. "This isprobably going to be one of the defining moments of my career. It came down to a stop, and I thought we really did a good job". Stewart had 25 points in each of the first two meetings but was held to 10 in the final matchup.