By Wyatt Yearout
The Seattle Storm moved one win away from a WNBA championship on Sunday afternoon after defeating the Washington Mystics in a 75-73 thriller.
Once again, Breanna Stewart led the Storm with 25 points and seven rebounds.
Sue Bird added eight points, three of which came off a 34-foot heave at the shot clock buzzer to give the Storm its biggest lead of the fourth quarter at 68-63.
The Storm outrebounded the Mystics 36-26 and forced Washington to go 0-for-16 from three-point land.
After trailing by three entering the final period, the Storm rattled off a 7-0 run to open the final frame and reclaim the lead and force a Washington timeout.
The Storm extended its lead to five before the Mystics answered with a run of its own to trim the lead back to one at one at 70-69, forcing a Storm timeout.
With Seattle up one with under a minute remaining, Stewart knocked down a pair of free throws to put the lead to three at 74-71 with 53.6 seconds left on the clock.
Kristi Toliver knocked down a jumper the next trip down the Mystics to trim the lead back to one. Stewart was fouled again on the following possession for Seattle, but missed both free throws, giving the ball back to Washington with 16.4 remaining.
The Storm forced a jump ball from the Mystics with 8.8 seconds left and was able to gain possession. Washington fouled Alysha Clark late, and she split the pair putting the Storm up two. Ariel Atkins put up a half court heave at the buzzer, but missed short, sealing the Storm victory.
- Seattle extended its league-leading record for most consecutive WNBA Finals games won, with 7 (2 in 2004, 3 in 2010, 2 in 2018), and the record for most consecutive WNBA Finals wins at home, with 6 (2 in 2004, 2 in 2010, 2 in 2018). The Storm remained unbeaten in home games in the WNBA Finals all-time.
- Since 2005, Seattle is the 4th team to go up 2-0 in the WNBA Finals (Seattle also went up 2-0 in 2010). All teams that went up 2-0 went on to complete the sweep.
- Seattle holding Washington to zero three-pointers marked the 1st time a team has held its opponent without a trey in postseason play since 10/9/16 (Minnesota, 0-for-6 vs. Los Angeles). Seattle ultimately outscored Washington from three-point range, 18-0.
- Seattle’s 2-point win is the closest margin of victory for the Storm in the playoffs this season and is the 4th game all-time decided by 2 points or less for the team in postseason history.
- Including the regular season, the Storm has now won 16 of the last 17 games against the Mystics in the Emerald City, a streak dating back to 2006.
The Storm will look to close out the series and secure its third championship in franchise history in Game 4 on Sept. 12. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m./PT at EagleBank Arena on the campus of George Mason University.