Storm sweep Mystics, win third WNBA title

The Seattle Storm won the WNBA championship by beating the Washington Mystics. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: Breanna Stewart won four NCAA championships and four Final Four MVP awards at the University of Connecticut.

Now she can add a WNBA title and a WNBA Finals MVP to her resume.

The league’s regular-season MVP scored a game-high 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Seattle Storm defeated the host Washington Mystics 98-82 Wednesday night to clinch the WNBA championship.

Seattle swept the best-of-five series, 3-0.

It was the third WNBA crown in as many championship appearances for the Storm. They also claimed the title in 2004 and 2010.

Natasha Howard, who won a title with the Minnesota Lynx last season, had 29 points on 11-for-14 shooting and a game-high 14 rebounds for the Storm. Alysha Clark added 15 points and nine rebounds, and Sue Bird, a member of all three Seattle championship teams, had 10 points and 10 assists.

Seattle guard Jewell Loyd had just six points on 2-for-11 shooting, but it didn’t hurt the Storm.

Elena Delle Donne scored 23 points and Kristi Toliver had 22 for the Mystics, who were appearing in the WNBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

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.

But Stewart was fouled by Delle Donne while making a jump shot from the free-throw line on the next possession and converted the three-point play, sparking an 8-0 run to put Seattle back in control.

The Storm shot 50% from both the field (36 of 72) and from 3-point range (13 of 26). Stewart was 4-for-5 from behind the arc.

Washington shot 43.5% from the field (30 of 69) but were 8 of 23 from beyond the 3-point arc. The Mystics were 0-for-16 on 3-pointers in a 75-73 loss in Seattle in Game 2.

Stewart and Howard each scored 17 points in the first half as the Storm took a 47-30 lead.

Seattle overcame an early deficit to lead 20-16 after the first quarter.