James, of course, knows how it is to be on the other end of a championship loss and wanted to recognize the Mystics for their season.
The triumph made Stewart the 11th player to win NCAA and WNBA titles and Olympic and FIBA world championship gold medals.
She cited now knowing Toliver's favorite beer, getting to know the families and pets of her teammates, playing games like 'would you rather?' while waiting in airports.
For years, Bird has sidestepped talk about when she'll put an end to a Hall-of-Fame bound career that includes two NCAA titles at CT, four Olympic gold medals, three FIBA world championships and four EuroLeague championships. But, as he pointed out, especially in the WNBA where a majority of players play year-round and are injury prone, winning a title takes the luck of being healthy all year.
To his detriment, Mystics coach Mike Thibault never found a way to slow down Stewart, who connected on 11 of 22 shots, including 4 of 5 three-pointers in a devastating series-clinching performance.
The 98-82 win adds to Seattle's 89-76 and 75-73 victories that they secured in games one and two, respectively. Starting with a Stewart 3-point play, Seattle countered with eight consecutive points and pulled away.
No one mentioned it publicly during the five-month run up to the WNBA Finals because they knew Sue Bird wouldn't approve. The 6-4 forward averaged a career-best 21.8 points per game, ranking second in the league, to go along with 8.4 boards per affair. When I got her the next year with the U-19, even the amount of improvement in that one year was incredible.More news: Hurricane Florence: Your guide to the story
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"Honestly, we've been that way all season", said Natasha Howard, who proved to be perhaps the missing piece in the Storm's championship puzzle. In Game 5 of the semifinals she had 28 points.
"There's been a huge transformation with the culture of this team", said Delle Donne, who was acquired by Washington before the 2017 season.
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 Storm were lead by 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart, who averaged 20.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
After trailing 69-53 entering the fourth quarter, the Mystics rallied to within five points at 72-67 on a 3-pointer by Tierra Ruffin-Pratt with 6:49 remaining. A reliable scorer and rebounder to pair down low with Delle Donne, Meesseman was an All-Star in 2015 at just 22 years old.
"Our team went through a rebuild, and yes, I made a decision to stay, and once we got Jewell and Stewie, we knew we would get on the other side, but how do you know you're going to get on the other side this fast". "This didn't feel like my first trip to the Finals".
"Oh I would have put a stop to that (crap) real quick", Bird said laughing.