BRADENTON, Fla. — Winning its second title in three years, and its fourth overall, the Seattle Storm beat the Las Vegas Aces in Game 3, 92-59, and swept the No. 1 seed in a dominant playoff run.
“It felt like a lot of pressure, the expectations were there,” head coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “These are all such good teams from top to bottom down here, every game you had to get prepared for each team in our league. It’s such a high level of basketball, so I’m just really proud of our group, they just stayed together through a lot of weird stuff, it was weird playing a season in a Wubble. It’s been historic for our team and the league.”
Finals MVP Breanna Stewart scored 26 points, Sue Bird dropped seven assists, and the Storm ran away with the game early in the second half.
After the first quarter, the Storm led the Aces, 23-21, trading baskets for most of the opening frame and shooting 57.9% from the field. Stewart led the way, scoring almost half of Seattle’s points with 11.
With Stewart in foul trouble in the second quarter, Loyd picked up the scoring load, scoring 10 points by halftime and helping Seattle separate, leading 43-34. The Storm’s defense held the Aces to just 40.6% shooting, and carried that momentum over into the second half.
The Storm outscored the Aces 32-14 in the third quarter, shooting 66.7% from the field and blowing the game completely open with a balanced scoring attack. Through three quarters, Seattle held Las Vegas to just 36.7% shooting and forced 15 turnovers.
“As we got going I thought our intensity, our energy and our disruption really picked up,” Kloppenburg said. “The way we came out in the third was just tremendous, we wanted to come out and take their confidence away in that third quarter and we did a really good job of it.”
Seattle opened the floodgates in the third and early in the fourth quarter, taking as large as a 35-point lead late in the game.
The Storm featured four double-digit scorers, shot nearly 50% from the field, and held the Aces to just 34.4% shooting for the dominant win in Game 3. Leading the way, Stewart won the second Finals MVP of her career, she’s one of just five players in league history to do so.
“She’s one of those players, a generational player, that comes through once in a while,” Kloppenburg said. “To face adversity and even get stronger because of it. I think that’s what we saw with her. She missed a whole year and she came back as a better player in pretty much every category on both sides of the ball.”
TOP STAT TO KNOW
#SayHerName: It has been 207 days since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own apartment. There has still been no justice.
- Sue Bird is the only player in WNBA history to win a championship in three separate decades, and just the third professional basketball player to accomplish the feat all time.
- Breanna Stewart has won Finals MVP for the second time in her career already, just the fifth WNBA player of all-time to win the award more than once.
- Bird set multiple assist records over the course of the Finals, with her latest being her 33 assists in a Finals sweep, the highest total of all-time.
- Stewart’s 85 points in a Finals sweep is the second most in WNBA history, with just Angel McCoughtry scoring more in the current Finals format, back in 2011 with the Atlanta Dream, of 93.
- Jordin Canada’s 15 points were a Finals career-high, and it’s the second straight game Canada has logged double-digit scoring.