There will be no raining on the Storm’s parade. The best team all season handled its business. Seattle is once again WNBA champions.
The Storm closed out the WNBA Finals on Wednesday night by sweeping the Washington Mystics. It’s the franchise’s third title and first since 2010 (point guard Sue Bird has been part of all three titles because she is an immortal basketball deity). Breanna Stewart backed up her regular season MVP by earning Finals MVP as well, with absolutely ridiculous averages in the three-game series: 25.7 points (on 51 percent shooting, 54.5 percent from 3-point land), 6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals.
You can celebrate the title with the Storm this Sunday, Sept. 16, with a parade that ends at KeyArena.
After winning the first two games of the series last weekend in Seattle, the Storm made sure they wouldn’t have to sweat things out by winning Game 3 in Washington, D.C. (well, technically Fairfax, Va.) in dominant fashion, 98-82. Natasha Howard was the best player on the floor in the close-out game, leading the way with 29 points (on 11-14 shooting) and 14 rebounds (including 6 key offensive boards). To be blunt, the WNBA’s Most Improved Player went Beast Mode on the Mystics in the post (and even showed outside touch, hitting both her 3-point attempts). The Storm led by double digits for most of the contest, with the biggest moment of tension coming when the Mystics cut the lead to 6 with 7:30 left in the 4th quarter. But when Sami Whitcomb came up with clutch steals on back-to-back possessions with under 5:40 to play, the Storm converted both into 5 points, pushing the lead back to 13 and essentially icing the game with 5 minutes to play.
And that’s before even getting to Stewart’s Game 3 contributions. It’s something that I’ve never seen from an elite basketball player: she’s such a force that her dominance almost feels quiet and mundane. (Tim Duncan is the closest comp.) She can kill an opponent without being the center of attention thanks to the brutal consistency of her working within the flow of the game plan. Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals will be remembered for Sue Bird’s season-saving barrage, but it was Stewart who led the scoring and kept them in striking range. Game 1 of the Finals will be remembered for Jewell Loyd’s hot shooting, but Stewie only had one less point. Even with Howard jumping off the screen as she ripped out the heart of the Mystics in Game 3, Stewart still managed to top her in scoring with 30 points. Her ho-hum brilliance is truly a sight to behold (as long as you’re paying close enough attention). There’s also the little fact that since her freshman year at UConn, Stewart won five titles with five corresponding championship MVPs in her past seven seasons. (Is that good?)
And with Stewie leading the way, there’s every reason to believe this title is just the beginning of an era of Seattle WNBA dominance.