WNBA Finals: Storm sweep Mystics to win third title

Silvia Morton
September 14, 2018

The Seattle Storm clinched the 2018 WNBA championship on Wednesday, completing the sweep of the Washington Mystics with a 98-82 victory.

Natasha Howard added a career-high 29 points and 14 rebounds while veteran Sue Bird had 10 points and 10 assists in the win.

No wonder players and coaches were exhausted after pulling an all-nighter, celebrating at a nearby restaurant after finishing off a sweep of the Washington Mystics just outside the nation's capital.

Mystics star and former league MVP Elena Delle Donne led Washington with 23 points, shooting 9-of-18 from the field.

Stewart was expected to lift a once-proud franchise from the doldrums and deliver a championship, but her first two years in the WNBA ended with disappointing first-round playoff exits on teams that were the No. 8 seed.

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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. 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. 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.

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.

Seattle led 69-53 at the start of the fourth when Washington made one last push. With Capital One Arena unavailable, the Mystics played their semifinal home games at the Smith Center on the George Washington University campus. In Game 4, in addition to losing Sue Bird to a broken nose, the Storm relinquished a 17-point lead over the course of three quarters. That's what you're supposed to do when your basketball team falls short of winning a title - try to create a more super super-team. Seattle's other title came in 2004. Howard and Clark filled in the gaps, as did Crystal Langhorne, Sami Whitcomb and rookie point guard Jordin Canada. "And I think it's just because of my age and because the older you get, the more you know, and the more you know can go wrong".

"I'm still trying to find the right words, and I'm a guy that can usually find the right words", Hughes said after the game. "And to do it with this group, the way we did it, I don't even know how to react to be honest".

Delle Donne was also named to the All-WNBA First Team on Wednesday. "And we get to build on it for these next three games".

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