Nothing groundbreaking in that headline after Breanna Stewart was named WNBA MVP for both the regular season and the finals after leading the Seattle Storm to the best record in the league (26-8) and their third WNBA title.
Although the finals were a little anticlimactic with only one game decided by fewer than 13 points, the Mystics put up quite the fight. Elena Delle Donne fought through a bone bruise but struggled averaging 17 points and five rebounds after putting up 21 and seven during the season.
One note on the finals loss for Washington that is important to remember is that they finished the season fifth in three-point percentage at 35.8 per cent, but in the first two games they went 3-37, including 0-16 in a two-point loss in Game 2.
However, the focus deserves to be on Stewart and Seattle who dominated all season after losing their season opener. They finished with the best net rating in the league, outscoring opponents by over nine points per 100 possessions. They dominated on offence this season, setting a record for threes in a season with over 300 made, a new record, while also putting up the league’s third toughest defence to score on per possession.
Stewart can take over a game from deep or inside with a variety of moves to get her points. In the most important games of the season Stewart put up at least 22 in all but one game, including averaging 26 in the finals, along with six rebounds. With only three seasons under her belt there is still time for Stewart to get more comfortable and become an even more intelligent player who will dominate the league for the next decade.
The real strength of Seattle, though, has been their depth all season with future Hall-of-Famer Sue Bird at point guard, who had a pair of top picks in Stewart and Jewell Loyd to run the offence through. Loyd made her second All-Star appearance and started the season on fire and the Storm rode her to success with an 11-0 record when she scored at least 20. In the playoffs Loyd drew top defenders and struggled, which is something for her to work on.
Most Improved Player Natasha Howard did all the dirty work and took over in the playoffs, including 29 points in Game 3 of the finals. Howard was able to start after signing this offseason, coming over from Minnesota and in her first season starting averaged career highs with 13 points, six rebounds and two blocks.
If you manage to start those four you can’t forget the fifth starter in Seattle, Alysha Clark, who is capable of putting up games where she gets 15 points and nine rebounds, or 13 points and 13 rebounds, which she did in the series clinching wins over Washington and Phoenix respectively.
With Stewart, the Storm are set up for success over the long run and could win another couple of titles over the next few years. They will have competition with the other teams coming for them but having the best player is a good way to have an advantage in any game.