"She's victor, what else can I say", Auriemma said, smiling broadly as Breanna Stewart strolled around EagleBank Arena after the Storm's 98-82 win clutching the WNBA trophy in one hand and the Finals MVP award in the other.
Stewart saved her best for last and scored 30 points - a career high for the playoffs - on 11-of-22 shooting, including 4 of 5 three-pointers. She finished with 31 points and 14 rebounds, both team highs.
It was also reported that Mystics star Elena Delle Donne was a guest on the next episode of LeBron's HBO show 'The Shop.' Kristi Toliver had 20 points.
What took place on Wednesday night on the campus of George Mason University, in a green-and-yellow arena turned red-and-blue, would have been hard to imagine just two years ago. Playing with a bone bruise in her left knee suffered in Game 2, Delle Donne returned for Games 4 and 5 and while her scoring was down, her presence on the court was a boost for the Mystics.
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. The great thing is we can still improve. The game, which saw Seattle overcome the Washington Mystics 98 - 82 for the sweep, was also up 33% from last year's Game 3.
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Like Seattle's group of Stewart (24 years old), Natasha Howard (27) and Jewell Loyd (24), some of the Mystics' best players are young or just entering their prime. "I think that they are really, really good and I love watching them play".
The Storm's championship sparked an outpouring of civic pride from the likes of Seattle natives Isaiah Thomas and Bill Russell, the Boston Celtics legend, who ended his Tweet with a joyful proclamation: #WeRepS3attle. We feel like we've got a lot of young, great talent, and obviously this isn't how we wanted it to end, but it's an experience that we can grow from. 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. The Mystics fared well enough without her in the regular season, ending with the league's fifth-most productive offense, but she was sorely missed when Washington was pitted against Seattle's polished sharpshooters.
Check out the brand new t-shirt - which honors the Storm's previous titles and their current roster - below. The club's first-ever trip to the WNBA Finals is even more impressive considering how much better the league is in 2018. She motivates me and in return, you want to give her something too.
Despite the misfires, Washington rallied from down 18 points to trailing 72-67 with 6:49 remaining. In the end, the Storm, who dominated the regular season, proved to be the league's best team. "This is probably going to be one of the most defining moments of my career", Bird said Wednesday night.