Breanna Stewart led all scorers with 30 points as the Seattle Storm topped the Washington Mystics 98-82 in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals Wednesday night to capture the third championship in franchise history.
Stewart had 30 points, and Howard, who had been a bit player in Minnesota last year when the Lynx won the title, was a monumental contributor all year in Seattle after her acquisition in a trade.
Stewart, the WNBA's Most Valuable Player this season, added Finals MVP to her resume, which includes four NCAA titles at CT, for which she was named the outstanding player in each of them.
Mystics star and former league MVP Elena Delle Donne led Washington with 23 points, shooting 9-of-18 from the field. "Like numerous girls on this team, I grew up idolizing Sue Bird and playing with her is still a little bit surreal".
In Game 2 of the Finals, Bird sank an improbable 35-foot three-pointer to beat the buzzer in the fourth and provide an emotional lift during a 75-73 victory.
The top five markets were: Seattle-Tacoma (3.6), Hartford & New Haven (1.7), Washington, DC (1.2), New Orleans (0.9), Memphis (0.9). Getting swept by the talented Storm was disappointing but nowhere near catastrophic for a young team that made it to the franchise's first Finals without one of its linchpins, Emma Meesseman, who did not play this season because of burnout. The team, which formed in 1998, had been to the semifinals twice before this season, losing to NY in 2002 and to the eventual champion Minnesota Lynx in 2017. Washington went on a 16-3 run to again close their deficit to just five points as Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had eight points in six second-half minutes.
Washington did mount a 6-0 run late in the third quarter, and capitalized on a technical foul on Seattle coach Dan Hughes, to cut the lead to 10 points.
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What Delle Donne did against Atlanta may have been better. I knew she was that elite level player and more importantly that elite level competitor that wanted to be the best.
"We had a great season", Delle Donne made clear. Past year we were brand new. I didn't know (Toliver's' favorite) beer.
As for the Washington Mystics, this incredible season comes to an end.
Stewart was a unanimous choice to the all-WNBA first team, the league announced Wednesday, while fellow UConn graduate Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury extended her own record with a 10th first-team selection. "Now I can go to the bar, order her everything she needs". "It really gave us that home court advantage".
"It took us a lot of experimenting throughout the year to find our best groove, and we didn't really get it until after the all-star break, and it carried over into the playoffs", he said.
"This is probably going to be one of the most defining moments of my career", Bird said.