Breanna Stewart, Storm: Stewart earned her first All-WNBA First Team honor and first WNBA MVP award after ranking second in the league in scoring (21.8 ppg), third in rebounding (8.4 rpg), seventh in blocked shots (1.44 bpg), eighth in steals (1.35 spg), 10 in field goal percentage (52.9) and eighth in three-point field goal percentage (41.5) for league-leading Seattle.
The Mystics lost Game 2, 75-73, meaning just one successful 3-pointer could have made the difference. "She's kind of helped me get to this point, and like you said, if there was one person on this team that I wanted to win it with it was her". "Like numerous girls on this team, I grew up idolizing Sue Bird and playing with her is still a little bit surreal".
Natasha Howard put up a career-high 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Storm. "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?"
The Mystics, on the other hand, didn't have a single player score in double figures, and only had two points off the bench. The team was young, and Bird knew they were rebuilding, but she chose to stay.
So after Bird had to face her longtime friend Diana Taurasi in the semifinals with a Finals berth on the line, she is now facing another good friend in Toliver for the WNBA championship. Kristi Toliver had 22 points. "[Turnovers have] just stopped us from getting into the flow we want to get into".
"There's been a huge transformation with the culture of this team", said Delle Donne, who was acquired by Washington before the 2017 season.
WNBAElena Delle Donne boxes out Breanna Stewart. "To do it with this group, the way we did it, I don't even know how to react".
Liz Cambage, Wings: In her first WNBA season since 2013, the Australian center led the league in scoring (23.0 ppg) and ranked second in rebounding (9.7 rpg). Seattle ended up losing that game by 2 points, and in an essay for The Players' Tribune Bird said that she was proud of the team because they proved they could do it without her - something she's been pushing them to realize all season. Since the league went to a best-of-five format in 2005, four teams trailed 0-2. "That's what really separated us again". Everyone has to have an "I love you off the court, but I'm going to kill you on the court" type of mentality. In Game 3, the Storm were outplayed by the Mercury, who received dominant performances from DeWanna Bonner, Brittney Griner and unlikely hero Yvonne Turner.
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 CT.
The legendary University of CT women's basketball coach sat next to his long-time assistant Chris Daley watching the most decorated player they'd ever coach do what she always does - dominate and win.
"It didn't feel like my first WNBA finals closeout game", the poised Stewart said.