Seattle Storm sweep Washington Mystics to capture WNBA championship

Isaiah Thomas. Courtesy The Player's Tribune

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.

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.

Bird was visibly emotional on court after her team won, holding back tears as she hugged her teammates.

"They clearly were the best team from start to finish, in my opinion", Thibault said.

A young Seattle team that lost in the first round the past two years and won just 15 games last season, obliterated the Mystics.

Bird, 37, finished with 10 points and 10 assists to bolster Finals and league MVP Breanna Stewart, who saved her best for last: 30 points - a career-high for the playoffs - on 11-of-22 shooting, including four 3-pointers on five attempts. Beyond the obvious, the circumstances of a venue change (thanks, Drake and Migos), the rise of the Washington Mystics in a short period of time has been nothing short of remarkable. "But this is a very special moment that I'm a part of this special group, and I think I'm just realizing how special they really were. One game leads us to what we've been working for for four months, and just having that mindset". She also earned her 13th selection to the All-WNBA First Team or Second Team, passing Tamika Catchings and Lisa Leslie (12 each) for the most in league history. "But we got better throughout the year".

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"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.

"There's been a huge transformation with the culture of this team", said Delle Donne, who was acquired by Washington before the 2017 season. Past year we were brand new. "I don't know if it was putting us seventh or eighth, I can't remember, and our team took a look at that and said, hell, no".

ED: "To get her - trust me, I know, I've got you, Panda". Now I can go to the bar and order her everything she needs.

KT: "I'm going to need a lot tonight". She did work inside, finishing post moves and getting to the basket for lay-ups; she did work in the mid-range, knocking down pull up jumpers as part of Seattle's offensive flow; and she knocked down her first four 3-pointers, finishing the day 4-of-5 from beyond the arc as she was able to stretch the Washington defense. The Mystics were 8 for 23 in Game 3 and 11 for 60 (18.3 percent) in the series.

"This is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me", said Stewart, who averaged 25.7 points in the Finals. "But our perimeter shooting allowed us to create some separation and then we managed the game pretty well".

Students kept rooting for the Storm into the fourth quarter, where the game got close, but never close enough. "We were champions again".

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