Stewart leads Seattle to 2nd WNBA title in 3 years

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird helped Seattle finish off a dominant season with another championship.

The dynamic duo powered the Storm to their second title in three seasons. They both missed last year with injuries.

Stewart scored 26 points and Seattle completed a sweep of the Las Vegas Aces with a 92-59 rout Tuesday night. It was the biggest margin of victory in WNBA Finals history.

“It doesn’t feel real we just won and that I was able to contribute the way I did,” said Bird, who averaged 11 assists for the three finals games. “Something when it’s all said and done that I’m incredibly proud of.”

It’s the fourth title in franchise history for the Storm, who also won in 2004, 2010 and 2018. Seattle had pretty much the same core group that won the 2018 championship back for this year, led by Stewart, Bird and Jewell Loyd. The Storm joined Minnesota and Houston as the only franchises to win four championships.

Seattle has now won a record 11 games in a row in the WNBA Finals, dating to the team’s first championship in 2004. Bird has been a part of all of them. The veteran guard, who turns 40 next week, was once again a catalyst for the Storm.

Bird said she was most proud of the fact that she won it all with one franchise in three different decades.

“There are core groups that have a two-, four-, six-, maybe 10-year run,” she said. “I’ve been here for technically 19 seasons, 17 I’ve played. To be able to recreate that magic with different groups.”

Bird, who had five points and seven assists in the clincher, said she hadn’t thought about whether she’ll come back next year.

“Interestingly enough it’s never a day of decision. I just kind of start working out and see how I feel,” she said. “I wish I could give you more. If the way I feel right now, if I go through my offseason and continue to build on that in a good way I don’t see why I won’t be playing next summer.”

The 26-year-old Stewart set a WNBA record by scoring more than 20 points for the sixth straight finals game. She was a unanimous choice as WNBA Finals MVP. It was the second time in her young career that she won the award, becoming the fifth player with multiple finals MVPs.

“I wanted to win a ring, that was the priority. Whatever else comes, comes,” Stewart said.

Her play all season showed she had fully recovered from a torn Achilles tendon that sidelined her for the entire 2019 season.

“She’s just one of those generational players that comes through once in a while that can face adversity and even get stronger because of it and that’s what we saw of her,” Seattle coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “She missed a whole year and came back as a better player in every category on both sides of the ball.

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