Storm sweep Mystics to capture WNBA championship

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Breanna Stewart

FAIRFAX, Va. — The wait is over.

After eight years, the Seattle Storm are WNBA champions once again.

Natasha Howard scored 29 points and collected 14 rebounds, Breanna Stewart, the Finals MVP, tallied 26 points and Alysha Clark had 13 as the Storm, a team that lost in the first round the past two years, beat the Washington Mystics to wrap up their first crown since 2010.

Seattle withstood a fourth-quarter comeback attempt for a 98-82 victory and a three-game series sweep.

This was total domination. Seattle obliterated Washington and became the sixth team to sweep the Finals in three games. The championship parade is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

The Storm stayed true to their mantra to never look back and always focus on the next game. They forget about their past, which included seven straight playoff losses on the road and focused entirely on Game 3.

Seattle, which the had the best-record in the regular season at 26-8 and the No. 1 playoff seed, was too quick, too efficient on the perimeter offensively and just too good for No. 3 Washington.

What was billed as a battle between two of the league’s most lethal three-point shooting teams turned into a one-sided display for the Storm.

Seattle converted 12 of 25 shots behind the arc, while Washington never found the mark. The Mystics were 7 of 20 from behind the arc in Game 3.

These playoffs will be remembered for Sue Bird’s masked heroics in the fourth quarter.

But it was also a coming out party for Stewart, the league MVP, who delivered time and again.

Wednesday night was no different.

The three-year veteran connected on 9 of 20 shots, including 4 of 5 from long range.

And Howard was too much for the Mystics inside.

Both teams were 6 of 18 (33.3 percent) from the field in the first quarter. Maybe the cold shooting was the result of nervousness or getting adjusted to EagleBank Arena.

The Storm finished the period ahead 20-16 because they were 4 of 9 on 3-pointers while Washington was 2 of 5.

It was close at the start of the second quarter, and then it wasn’t after Stewart took over and scored nine points in the period.

The Storm outscored the Mystics 26-14 in the second to extend their lead to 46-30 heading into halftime.

Seattle led 69-53 at the start of the fourth.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt sank a 3-pointer with 6:49 left to cut Seattle’s 16-point lead at the start of the fourth to five (72-67) and inject a little suspense in a game the Storm controlled for three quarters.

The sellout crowd of 9,164 at EagleBank Arena screamed: “De-fense, De-fense,” one last rally cry for a Washington Mystics facing elimination for the fourth time this season. But Seattle pulled away to capture the championship.

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