The Seattle Storm clinched their third WNBA championship with a 98-82 win over the Washington Mystics in Fairfax, Virginia Wednesday night. Fans are invited to celebrate the Storm with a parade and rally planned for this Sunday.
Breanna Stewart led the Storm with 30 points and 8 rebounds in Game 3 of the best-of-5 series. She was named game MVP after already being named league MVP of the WNBA for 2018.
"Stewie was just amazing," Storm coach Dan Hughes said. "She truly was the MVP of this league. She truly was the MVP of these Finals. God blessed me with an opportunity to coach her and I will be forever grateful."
Natasha Howard put up a career-high 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Storm. Team captain Sue Bird, a member of a Seattle's championship teams in 2004 and 2010, added 10 points and 10 assists.
"Each (championship) is special in its own way, but this one is probably going to have a different meaning for me," said 37-year-old point guard Bird. "There is probably no comparison to be honest. I didn't know if I'd be playing at this point. Our team went through a rebuild and yes, I decided to stay. 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?"
Bird understands her career is nearing the end, even though she remains among the league's best. One of the league's most decorated players also grasps the impact of her latest triumph.
"This is probably going to be one of the most defining moments of my career," Bird said.
The coach sensed something brewing early in his first year with the franchise. "I think this was our year," Hughes said. "All year you could just see the escalation."
"We were up at halftime, but we knew D.C. was going to come back," Stewart said. "It was how we countered that when things got close. That's what really separated us again."
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 Connecticut.
"It didn't feel like my first WNBA finals closeout game," the poised Stewart said.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report