"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?"
Game recognize game. LeBron James is the world's most famous basketball fan and he took notice of the huge Game 3 of the WNBA Finals on Wednesday night as the Seattle Storm won the championship with a 98-82 victory over the Washington Mystics. The Mystics went on a 14-3 run to open the fourth and cut the lead to five. Despite the sting of their season ending earlier than they hoped, they smiled as they recalled the journey to that point and the road ahead. Its star Breanna Stewart has already registered 30 points, including 17 before the break. Howard and Clark filled in the gaps, as did Crystal Langhorne, Sami Whitcomb and rookie point guard Jordin Canada.
What was billed as a battle between two of the league's most lethal three-point shooting teams turned into a one-sided display for the Storm.
Stewart was a unanimous choice to the all-WNBA first team, the league announced Wednesday, while fellow UConn graduate Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury extended her own record with a 10th first-team selection. She burned with the desire for similar prosperity in the pros, and made it happen.
Heroes abounded for the Storm.
"Stewie was just unbelievable", Storm coach Dan Hughes said. Seattle's other title came in 2004. She was the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Final Four in all four of her college years.
Bird understands her career is nearing the end, even though she remains among the league's best.
Delle Donne's on-court chemistry with Toliver, their second season together as teammates since Toliver signed as a free agent in 2017, also grew.
Bird is relishing this opportunity knowing it could be one of her last chances to win another title.
The fact that she did it with a broken nose (the fifth of her career), wearing a plastic mask that was painfully poked in the third quarter, just added to the lore of one of the greatest athletes Seattle has ever seen. "There are times when you are exhausted and the crowd goes nuts and you are right back in it".
Once, it was Bird and Lauren Jackson who powered this franchise to such great heights. By the time starting center LaToya Sanders sprained her ankle while saving a loose ball, eventually getting carried to the locker room, the game had largely gotten away from Washington.
When she was drafted in 2016, Seattle had missed the playoffs in the previous two seasons. The nucleus is young and still hungry, except for Bird, who is, well, not so young, but still hungry. That energy was not lost on the players, who have a new arena in Congress Heights to look forward to next season.
And Bird became emotional in her interview with Rowe.
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