Stewart, Storm surge past Mystics 98-82 for WNBA title

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After defeating the Atlanta Dream in the previous round of the WNBA playoffs, the Washington Mystics embarked on their first Finals appearance in franchise history.

Stewart wouldn't allow this series to extend past Game 3, she was eager to get the champagne popping. With Capital One Arena unavailable, the Mystics played their semifinal home games at the Smith Center on the George Washington University campus.

They have a superstar in Delle Donne and ascending players at most positions.

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. Bird, the oldest player in the league, ranked second in assists, guiding the team's young superstars the whole way.

The legendary University of CT women's basketball coach sat next to his long-time assistant Chris Daley watching the most decorated player they'd ever coach do what she always does - dominate and win. Delle Donne just turned 29, Natasha Cloud is 26 and Meesseman is 25. "You have to think big picture", Kristi Toliver said after the Mystics' season-ending loss to Seattle. "The difference between really good teams at this level, can be if you're able to get production from places that you don't normally expect".

"We spent a lot of our time this year relying on a rookie player to be our third scorer".

"We had a goal for this year".

And they still were led by the five-time All-Star Delle Donne all season long.

After previously declining to discuss her left knee injury because she did not want to make excuses, the Deleware native opened up about how the ailment affected her play.

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Before the game, Thibault seemed to understand what his team was up against; where it might struggle; what it could learn for next year and beyond.

That said, their male counterparts showered the Storm with praises on Twitter. Once she found her rhythm, she got her other teammates involved.

Despite the misfires, Washington rallied from down 18 points to trailing 72-67 with 6:49 remaining. She was named game MVP after already being named league MVP of the WNBA for 2018.

For Bird, the season was proof that she made the right decision a few years back when her contract was nearing its end. "We're poised to get better".

Eagle Bank Arena in Fairfax, Va. proved an adequate, if temporary, home for the Mystics. He'll schedule postseason conversations with the veterans in the coming months - after all, nearly all of the Mystics are expected to return next year.

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. "They're behind us. They're proud of us". Even in defeat, their budding connection was on full display.

"Just knowing that Game 3 was so important; obviously playing on the road is tough, but we knew we could close out this series and we wanted to do it today", Stewart said. I didn't know (Toliver's' favorite) beer.

"This is probably on of the best things I've ever done", said Stewart of winning her first title. "I mean, you can't be unsuccessful if you're in the Finals".