They wanted to win one for her. “You have to think big picture”, Kristi Toliver said after the Mystics’ season-ending loss to Seattle. “This didn’t feel like my first trip to the Finals”.
“And then your stars have to be who they are”.
The Storm were lead by 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart, who averaged 20.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. “This is all about Sue”. Latoya Sanders, who returned from a foot injury in 2017, became a formidable defensive presence in the frontcourt, and fourth-year guard Natasha Cloud’s ability to efficiently steer the offense was crucial to the team’s success. We didn’t know – I mean, I didn’t even know her favorite beer, and that’s a pretty important thing to know about Panda. This is also the city of Seattle’s first professional sports championship since 2014, when the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII.
Winning and alcohol creates potent truth serum where confessions and secrets are revealed. Two of the league’s most improved players were on the Mystics’ roster.
“We had a goal for this year”.
ED: “To get her – trust me, I know, I’ve got you, Panda”.
“She never gives up”.
“I didn’t ask them to do anything for me”, Bird said.
Breanna Stewart can be found on any number of short lists when it comes to her basketball accomplishments. “We’re poised to get better”. And we did that.
It was Bird who scored the go-ahead basket in an overtime win to beat Phoenix in Game 2 of the semifinals.
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. With wins Friday night (89-76) and Sunday afternoon, the Storm remained unbeaten in home games in the WNBA Finals.
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). She was carried to the locker room and did not return. “She’s exactly what you want in a point guard and a leader”. If it all sounded a bit mundane a day after the end of the best run in team history, Thibault said: “That’s kind of how it goes when you have a good season”. She was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four an unprecedented four times.
But they’re gone now and only Bird remains.
The Mystics began the season picked to finish eighth in the Associated Press preseason poll. The Mystics made the mistakes a young team makes, especially on the interior.
“Basically, we’ve played a lot of this season through a bunch of distractions”, said Mystics head coach Mike Thibault.
The answer came almost four months later with a championship.
Washington had one last push in the fourth quarter, cutting Seattle’s lead to just five points with less than seven minutes left in the game behind a huge 3-point bucket from Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. It’s not that my hunger for it went away or my motivation.
“I’m not even thinking about retiring”, she said Wednesday.
The ultra-confident, steely cool Stewart had a feeling about this game, just as she had a feeling about this series and this season.