Seattle Storm forwards Breanna Stewart added into her extensive decoration set Tuesday night with another WNBA title and another WNBA Finals MVP award. Last year at this moment, she had been recovering from an Achilles injury that forced her to miss that the 2019 WNBA season.
Stewart had 26 points and four rebounds as the No. 2-seeded Storm finished a three-game sweep of this 1-seed Las Vegas Experts using a 92-59 success at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
“I was not certain if I was going to return to where I had been,” Stewart said of her anxieties in the Achilles injury she sustained while playing in Europe in April 2019. “However, to be here and watch myself playing like that and with so much potential going forward, it is exciting but also actually appreciating what we managed to perform this season.”
Stewart, who took 10-of-14 in the ground in Game 3, had her sixth consecutive WNBA Finals match with a minimum of 20 points. That’s the longest such streak ever, departure Cooper, who had five in a row for Houston from 1997 to 1999, and Angel McCoughtry, that had five straight for the Atlanta Fantasy from 2010 to 2011.
From the postseason, these amounts were 25.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.0 assists.
The star forward was that the No. 1 draft pick from UConn in 2016 after winning four consecutive NCAA titles using the Huskies. She was named rookie of the year to get the first WNBA season, and she had been a league winner in 2018, her third season.
Stewart needed to see the WNBA Finals last year when rehabbing her Achilles. This had been the first serious accident of her profession, which at the point comprised not only her achievement at college and the WNBA, but additionally with USA Basketball with golden awards at the 2016 Olympics along with also the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup.
“You know, I remember where I was last year throughout the WNBA Finals — I had been in North Carolina with my loved ones,” Stewart explained, “and it had been hard for me to not be upset since I wished to be part of the league.
“wanted to be with my group and have the chance to return and defend our title. To be here, to undergo everything we have gone through as a group, of course independently, it is a wonderful feeling. There is a lot of an unknown later rupturing my Achilles. I don’t know whether I am proud of myself but, you know, proud of everything I have done… very proud of simply being able to return.”
Stewart returned to action in late January in an exhibition together with the U.S. national group. Then, she moved overseas to play, before the COVID-19 pandemic cut short her European season. She was prepared to go to the 2020 WNBA season. Earlier this season, she said she’d give herself an A-minus or B-plus for this year, but she confessed that she had been becoming a tough grader.
“Stewie is merely one of these gamers, a player that comes through in a time which could face adversity and also get more powerful for this,” Seattle coach Gary Kloppenburg stated. “I feel that is exactly what we watched with her. She came right back as a much better participant in virtually every class, on each side of the globe. Pretty amazing testament to her work ethic and her want to become such a fantastic player and such a wonderful teammate.”
Seattle combined Houston, a now-defunct franchise, and Minnesota in winning its fourth name, tied to the most in the history of the WNBA, which started in 1997. The Storm’s past championships came in 2004, 2010, and 2018; point guard Sue Bird began for all those teams and also this year’s champions.
This 24th WNBA effort had a normal season shortened to 22 matches due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Aces won the two regular-season games Bird did not play either game, and Stewart played one — which gave them the best seed.
They drifted Minnesota in the semifinals with just one close game — the opener, they won 88-86 on a last-second putback by Alysha Clark. The Storm won their additional five playoff games by double digits.
“The city of Seattle has consistently had our back,” Stewart said following Tuesday’s triumph. “We had the extreme support from everyone, and we are bringing another [name ] back.
“I feel that the best challenge was only all of the adversity. Everybody purchased in. We are a team, and we sort of rolled with the punches and continued to do what we do. Now we are the champs.”