They were preseason favorites and now the Seattle Storm have done it!
The No. 1 seed Las Vegas Aces had their backs against the wall when facing the No. 2 seed Seattle Storm in Game 3 of the 2020 WNBA Finals Tuesday night.
Seattle was going for the sweep after taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
And that’s just what they did.
The Seattle Storm are the 2020 WNBA Champs!
Seattle dominated in their closeout game, defeating Las Vegas 92-59.
Even though the Storm completed the sweep in dominant fashion Tuesday, that didn’t mean Storm head coach Gary Kloppenburg and his team weren’t feeling the pressure.
“It felt like a lot of pressure,” Kloppenburg said postgame. “The expectations were there… I’m just really proud of our group. They just stayed together through a lot of weird stuff. It’s been kind of weird playing a season in a ‘wubble.’ It’s been historic for our team and the league.”
Seattle forced Las Vegas to commit 18 turnovers for the game. Coach Kloppenburg praised his team’s defense following the win.
The Storm didn’t take their first lead until the final seconds of the first quarter.
The top two vote getters in the MVP race this season were shouldering the loud early for each team.
It was the 2020 MVP A’ja Wilson who got things going early for Las Vegas. Wilson scored 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting in her first nine minutes of action, while Seattle forward Breanna Stewart finished the first quarter with 11.
The Storm led 23-21 at the end of the first quarter.
Seattle took a big blow at the 7:54 mark of the second quarter when Stewart picked up her third personal foul, and went to the bench. Plus, Natasha Howard also already had two fouls on the night.
But the Aces weren’t able to capitalize on Stewart being out of the game.
Stewart wasn’t the only non-factor in the second quarter with foul trouble. Wilson didn’t get as many scoring opportunities despite being on the floor. The Aces forward went scoreless in the second quarter.
But for Seattle, the Storm once again flexed its depth.
Guard Jewell Loyd became Seattle's number one offensive option with Stewart on the bench for the rest of the second quarter. Loyd hit double figures to end the first half with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting. She finished with 19 points on the night.
The Storm ended the second quarter on a 9-3 run to hold a 43-34 lead at the break.
It was apparent in the third quarter, the Storm were ready to finish the series. Seattle started out the second half outscoring Las Vegas, 12-2.
And they never looked back.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Seattle held a commanding 75-48 lead.
“We wanted to come out and take their confidence away in the third quarter and I thought we really did that,” Kloppenburg said.
With the game never really in jeopardy in the second half, Seattle played free on the offensive end and had multiple players involved on that side of the ball.
Following the 2020 trophy presentation, the Finals MVP was announced.
And it was no surprise:
Breanna Stewart is the 2020 WNBA Finals MVP.
Stewart led the way in scoring for the Storm yet again, this time notching 26 points and four rebounds.
The No. 1 overall pick of the 2016 WNBA draft also set a league record with six consecutive WNBA Finals games of 20 plus points.
Stewart also won Finals MVP in 2018 when the Storm took home the hardware two years ago.
But what is probably most impressive is that Stewart tore her Achilles just 18 months ago and this season she returned better than ever.
As for Seattle’s other superstar, Sue Bird, Kloppenburg praised Bird’s leadership.
“Sue’s just another generational player… It’s pretty incredible what she’s accomplished, but it’s more here leadership on the court and how she’s developed as a leader off the court… She’s a leader of this league and this league is a league of leaders -- trying to move the needle towards justice.”
Bird finished with five points and seven assists in the win.
Sporting her Nike goggles, while sipping out of a champagne bottle, Stewart reflected on her comeback season Tuesday night.
And more than anything, the 26-year-old is grateful right now.
“To be able to be here, to be able to see myself playing like this, having so much potential going forward, it’s exciting, but at the same time -- appreciating what we were able to do this year… I’m just appreciating more,” Stewart added.
We can all appreciate the Seattle Storm’s championship run. Congrats to the Storm.