Stewart reinforces elite status with WNBA title

Seattle Storm players Sue Bird Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart celebrate during the first half of Game 3 of the WNBA Finals Wednesday night in Fairfax Va

Stewart reinforces elite status with WNBA title

With a 98-82 win over the Washington Mystics on Wednesday night, the Seattle Storm completed the series sweep and clinched its third WNBA Championship in franchise history at EagleBank Arena on the campus of George Mason University.

Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart fretted following the regular-season opener after the Seattle Storm lost at home to the Phoenix Mercury. Playing with a bone bruise in her left knee suffered in Game 2, Delle Donne returned for Games 4 and 5 and while her scoring was down, her presence on the court was a boost for the Mystics.

This is likely just the beginning for the dynamic 24-year-old forward, who won the NCAA Championship during each of her four seasons at the University of CT. It was another six years before she was back in the finals winning another title.

The Seattle Storm bench celebrates in the third quarter against the Washington Mystics during Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on September 7, 2018 in Seattle.

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.

But Seattle countered with eight consecutive points to pull away and put the game to bed.

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.

Then he watched them turn into the best team in the league during the season, and validate that status in the postseason. It was really imperative that Jewell [Loyd] kind of become part of our flow, and I thought she did a great, great job of giving us that flow at that point.

Sep 12, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) shoots the ball over Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne (11) during the first quarter in game three of the WNBA Finals at Eagle Bank Arena.

"We feel like we have a lot of young, great talent", Delle Donne said. Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner were not with the team for those two games due to their participation in the WNBA playoffs, but did join them for the trip to France.

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.

They were pushed in the fourth quarter, when the Mystics rallied to within five with 6:40 to play. I knew she was that elite level player and more importantly that elite level competitor that wanted to be the best.

Washington shot 43.5 percent from the field (30 of 69) but was 8 of 23 from beyond the 3-point arc.

"Each (championship) is special in its own way, but this one is probably going to have a different meaning for me", the 37-year-old veteran point guard said. "This didn't feel like my first trip to the Finals".

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