The Storm stayed true to their mantra to never look back and always focus on the next game. It was a rare show of emotion from a normally reserved Bird, and the 14 points she dropped in the fourth, including four threes, to send the Storm to the Finals set social media ablaze.
"Way at the beginning, I said at the start, I was exhausted of losing", Stewart said.
The Storm got their first taste of life without Bird in the semifinals when she broke her nose and had to sit out the remainder of Game 4 against Phoenix. "Now it's just another growth; another step toward maturity is just winning on someone else's home court".
The Storm, which the had the best-record in the regular season at 26-8 and the No. 1 playoff seed, was too quick, too efficient on the perimeter offensively and just too good for No. 3 Washington. Bird hopes that the elevated stakes Wednesday can motivate the Storm to avoid any complacency they might've experienced in Phoenix.
"I'm sure he's going to say we're not invited anyway". "Hopefully that can bring out a little more hunger in us".
A young Seattle team that lost in the first round the past two years and won just 15 games last season, obliterated the Mystics.
"You can't be unsuccessful if you're in the Finals", Kristi Toliver said. And for Stewart, the second of those No.1 picks, there was one person above all others that she wanted to share the moment with.
Some of Seattle's other professional sports teams also were cheering on the Storm. In Game 2, the Mystics missed all 16 of their three-point attempts, any of which would have been the difference in a two-point loss.
"We don't make 3s, it's hard for us", Mystics coach Mike Thibault told EPSN.com after Game 2.
Sue Bird, also a member of a Seattle's championship teams in 2004 and 2010, had 10 points and 10 assists. We have only played together with this core group basically for two years, and we have some reinforcements coming next year. "Them being at home helps that cause even more so".
Stewart and her teammates were greeted with a warm welcome at the airport, where fans lined up to congratulate the ladies on their victory and snap a few selfies with their favorite players.
"We understand that we have to take care of the ball. I felt more and more uncomfortable as we kept going". "Where we were picked and where we ended up, they should be excited about, and they should be excited about the future". If nothing else, it reminded players of what's on the line. We went through a rebuild a couple of years ago, and who would know we get here this quickly. "I was ready to take (the championship trophy) back to Seattle where it belongs".