Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
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Stewart leads Storm to WNBA title; Wins finals MVP

Stewart leads Storm to WNBA title; Wins finals MVP

A host of basketball and Seattle sports stars hailed the Storm on Wednesday night following their championship-clinching win over the Washington Mystics in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals.

The Storm rolled to a 16-point lead after the first half behind dominant performances from Stewart and center Natasha Howard.

Washington reduced the margin to eight points with eight minutes remaining and Seattle coach Dan Hughes immediately called Whitcomb off the bench to help close out the game.

Before the Storm selected Stewart with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, the 6-foot-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. During that 10-minute frame, the home team shot just 26.3 percent (5-for-19) from the field to only manage 14 points in the quarter. "But we had a goal coming into this year, we knew what to do and how to get better and we just continue to push one another".

Stewart saved her best for last and scored 30 points - a career high for the playoffs - on 11-of-22 shooting, including 4 of 5 three-pointers.

"Our team went through a rebuild, and yes, I chose to stay, and once we got Jewell and Stewie, we knew we would get on the other side, but how do you know you're going to get on the other side this fast".

"I think this was our year", Hughes said.

The answer came almost four months later with a championship.

Their two captains, Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver, were the primary catalysts from the oft-mediocre franchise going from bad to good to great. "Once we got Stewie and Jewell, we knew we'd get to the other side, but how do you know you're going to get to the other side this fast?" A year ago we were brand new. Even though it hadn't been in the WNBA yet, she clearly knows what it takes, and sometimes it just takes a couple of years to really figure out yourself in this league because it's a very tough league to play in, and now here she is.

She cited now knowing Toliver's favorite beer, getting to know the families and pets of her teammates, playing games like 'would you rather?' while waiting in airports.

"We understand that the difference here is we have a chance to win a championship and not just advance to the next round", Bird said.

KT: "I'm going to need a lot tonight".

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

"We were up at halftime, but we knew D.C. was going to come back", Stewart said. "You know it's early, it's early for us, but to have this kind of support, this is what it's all for". "We were champions again". "Obviously the basketball stuff, like knowing she likes a dribble hand-off, knowing she's not a huge fan of the flares, all that stuff".

"We don't want to go [back] to Seattle to play", Stewart said.

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