Last night, with the help of some fellow former Huskies - Bird and three-point specialist Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis - Stewart won her first WNBA championship in her third season.
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 fouth time this season. And she still had 10 points and 10 assists. She was carried to the locker room and did not return.
For Hughes, the focus is on rebounding, particularly on the defensive end to limit second-chance opportunities for Washington's Elena Delle Donne and Toliver. She laid on the arena floor, slightly below the elevated basketball court where she initially fell from while trying to make a hustle play, where she was in agony as tears ran down her cheeks. Relive the TOP 5 PLAYS from #WNBAFinals Game 3 as @seattlestorm clinched the title.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt sank a three-pointer with 6:49 left to cut Seattle's 16-point lead to five (72-67). Unfortunately for the home team, Seattle immediately responded with an 8-0 run and coasted the rest of the way.
League MVP Breanna Stewart scored 30 points in the victory and was selected Finals MVP after averaging 25.6 points through the three games.
Stewart wouldn't allow this series to extend past Game 3, she was eager to get the champagne popping. "Their time together showed". I didn't know if I'd be playing at this point. We went through a rebuild a couple of years ago, and who's to say we'd get here this quickly.
Then there is Ariel Atkins (22), who just completed a solid rookie campaign many did not see coming. Howard is the third player to win back-to-back WNBA titles with different teams.
"I posted on the board for my team in training camp one of the preseason predictions that was put out there", Thibault recollected.
"You're only going to impact [Delle Donne and Toliver] to a degree", Hughes said. "From letting a team back into the game, to end of game how we're handling things".
"We understand that we have to take care of the ball". The Mystics made the mistakes a young team makes, especially on the interior.
Inheriting a team that had finished 15-19 and 16-18 the previous two years, but dripping with talent, he instilled a defensive mindset and placed his trust in the players. We knew what to do and how to get better.
"We can really create something here, and I think we've really grown this fan base", said Delle Donne. We stayed laser (focused) through the whole season nonstop.