What was billed as a battle between two of the league's most lethal three-point shooting teams turned into a one-sided display for the Storm.
And Wednesday, Bird tallied 10 assists, her career high for the Finals, while scoring 10 points, including a pair of dagger three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Many question marks surrounded Washington's offseason, from who in the frontcourt could aid Elena Delle Donne to how the team would adapt without the presence of Emma Meesseman, who averaged 14 points and 5.7 rebounds but announced in January she would sit out the season to train for this month's World Cup with Belgium. Kristi Toliver had 20 points.
The sellout crowd of 9,164 at EagleBank Arena screamed: "De-fense, De-fense", one last rally cry for a Washington Mystics facing elimination for the fourth time this season.
"When you talk about being a coach on the floor, she's it", said first-year Storm coach Dan Hughes who admits to sharing authority in the locker room and during timeouts with Bird.
Stewart was a unanimous choice to the all-WNBA first team, the league announced Wednesday, while fellow UConn graduate Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury extended her own record with a 10th first-team selection. The game, which saw Seattle overcome the Washington Mystics 98 - 82 for the sweep, was also up 33% from last year's Game 3.
The Mystics were playing in the franchise's first Finals. "I didn't even know [Toliver's] favorite beer".
Bird, also a member of a Seattle's championship teams in 2004 and 2010, was certainly appreciative of the title - and the growth of the Storm's younger players.
"We spent a lot of our time this year relying on a rookie player to be our third scorer". We had some great additions along the way, obviously one sitting to my left.
When she was drafted in 2016, Seattle had missed the playoffs in the previous two seasons. Washington's Entertainment and Sports Arena is scheduled to open September 22 and will house the entire Mystics operation, offices for Thibault and his staff included. She motivates me and in return, you want to give her something too. "Now I can go to the bar and order her everything she needs".
"This is probably going to be one of the most defining moments of my career", Bird said.
"Honestly, it didn't feel like my first WNBA Finals closeout". Washington went on a 16-3 run to again close their deficit to just five points as Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had eight points in six second-half minutes. "But our perimeter shooting allowed us to create some separation and then we managed the game pretty well".
"Not only does Sue understands the things we need to do on the court to be successful, she's knowledgeable about what it takes off the court to be at your best like diet, taking care of yourself and making sure you get proper rest".