Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
It wasn’t exactly how the Washington Mystics would have liked to end their season, watching the Seattle Storm crowned 2018 WNBA Finals champs crowned on their home court, but the power of Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird and Natasha Howard was just too much for Elena Delle Donne and company.
Delle Donne who played through this entire series with a brace on her leg after the injury against Phoenix has nothing but positive things too look forward to with this team and she praised her teammates after the game and refused to be emotional after the loss.
“We had a great season. I am super proud of the way we bounced back,” said Delle Donne. ” Obviously the finals did not go the way we wanted it to, but there is room where we can improve and I think we can.”
One big factor for the growth of this team going into 2019 will be the fact that they will have their own place to call home in the new 5,000 seat venue in SE D.C and Delle Donne talked about the playoff like environment it will create just like it did here at Eagle Bank Arena tonight.
“It’s will be a lot like it was here tonight and will create more of a playoff like environment every night we play there,” said Delle Donne.
Breanna Stewart, the league and Finals MVP, had 30 points in the win. The Storm ended the first half with a 16-point lead and never looked back. Washington pulled within five with just over 6:30 minutes left in the game — breathing new life into the home crowd — but a 3-point play by Stewart and a defensive stop on the next play halted Washington’s momentum. Less than a minute later, Natasha Howard snuck through the defense for an easy offensive rebound to push the lead to 10 again.
“I think that series, looking back on Phoenix, is something that we really learned from,” Stewart said Tuesday. “Letting a team back into the game, end of game, how we’re handling things. Now it’s just another step in our growth and maturity is winning on someone else’s home court.
“When I look back at that series, Game 3 was kind of a wash. They came out guns blazing and we just couldn’t catch up. Game 4, honestly, was some self-inflicted stuff. We had the lead, (I) broke Sue’s nose, that made things a little different. The way we battled was better than Game 3. We know we don’t want to go back to Seattle to play. We want to bring the trophy back to Seattle.”