Seattle Storm sweeps Las Vegas Aces to claim WNBA championship
Fred Jeter | 10/15/2020, 6 p.m.
Three time zones away, the Seattle Storm found home sweet home in “The Bubble.”
The Storm won their fourth WNBA title on Oct. 6 with a commanding 92-59 win over the Las Vegas Aces at the IMG Academy, aka “The Bubble,” in Bradenton, Fla.
All WNBA activities had been held in “The Bubble” since July 24, when the fractured sea- son resumed following a coronavirus pandemic time out.
Led by Finals MVP Breanna Stewart, ageless ball handling marvel Sue Bird and powerful Jewell Loyd, the Storm swept the Aces in the best-of-five games. The whopping 33-point margin in the final game was the largest ever.
The Storm’s previous WNBA crowns were in 2004, 2010 and 2018.
Stewart and Bird, both from the University of Connecticut, and Loyd are all former No. 1 overall draft picks.
The 6-foot-4 Stewart hit 10 of 14 shots, including three of four from behind the arc, in scoring a game-high 26 points.
Bird, 39, had five points and seven assists and celebrated afterward with her partner, soccer
star Megan Rapinoe. In fact it was Rapinoe who gave the team its slogan, “We’re Chill.”
Loyd, nicknamed the “Gold Mamba,” was the first draft selection in 2015 out of the Uni- versity of Notre Dame. She had a loving bas- ketball relationship with the late Kobe Bryant, nicknamed the “Black Mamba,” who died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.
“This is for Kobe, Gigi, the Bryant family and for Breonna Taylor,” Loyd said. “This is our first year without them ... and Kobe was the first to really believe in me.”
An inspired Loyd had 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in the final game under 65-year-old Coach Dan Hughes.
WNBA regular season MVP A’ja Wilson had 18 points to lead the top-seeded Aces, coached by former NBA star Bill Laimbeer.
The Storm was 18-4 during the regular season and defeated the Minnesota Lynx, three wins to none, in the playoff semifinals.
The Storm joins the Lynx and the now-defunct Houston Comets as the only teams with four WNBA championships.