LeBron James congratulates Seattle Storm on WNBA title

Washington Mystics’ Natasha Cloud moves past the Storm’s Sue Bird and toward the basket in the first half of Game 2 of the WNBA Finals in Seattle on Sunday

To win the first championship in franchise history, the third-seeded Mystics must win three straight games, something no WNBA team has done in the best-of-five Finals.

Celebrate Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and all of Seattle with this licensed championship t-shirt.

In Seattle's practice between Games 1 and 2, Bird recalled Thibault coming up to her during that Friday shootaround and said the feeling of admiration is mutual, but that both she and Thibault will flip the switch to being competitors as soon as the game is set for tipoff. "We're going to be better", Washington guard Kristi Toliver said after Game 2. "I'm going to tell you what, they were special in November, January, and when we started April 29th, and they're special tonight".

"I think we do play best when we're under pressure", guard Natasha Cloud said Tuesday. The team was young, and Bird knew they were rebuilding, but she chose to stay.

Stewart had 30 points, and Howard, who had been a bit player in Minnesota last year when the Lynx won the title, was a monumental contributor all year in Seattle after her acquisition in a trade.

Stewart was the league MVP and was selected the Finals MVP after averaging 25.6 points in the three games.

WNBAElena Delle Donne boxes out Breanna Stewart.

"Obviously, this finals didn't go the way we wanted it".

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"There's been a huge transformation with the culture of this team", said Delle Donne, who was acquired by Washington before the 2017 season. "To do it with this group, the way we did it, I don't even know how to react".

Toliver, seated next to the first-team All-WNBA player, chimed in. Since the league went to a best-of-five format in 2005, four teams trailed 0-2. Donning a clear face mask to avoid any more damage to her nose, Bird got tied up with Phoenix's DeWanna Bonner and Briann January in the fourth quarter and got up off the floor yelling that her face mask had been shoved. Everyone has to have an "I love you off the court, but I'm going to kill you on the court" type of mentality.

Liz Cambage, Wings: In her first WNBA season since 2013, the Australian center led the league in scoring (23.0 ppg) and ranked second in rebounding (9.7 rpg). "It was how we countered that when things got close".

There's still a lot for Washington to overcome when it returns home for Game 3 on Wednesday night.

One by one, Storm players paid tribute and gave testimonials to their living legend Bird, thanking her for being an inspiration to accomplish their greatest achievement.

For years, Bird has sidestepped talk about when she'll put an end to a Hall-of-Fame bound career that includes two NCAA titles at CT, four Olympic gold medals, three FIBA world championships and four EuroLeague championships.

As Sue Bird was exiting at one end of the court, Mystics coach Mike Thibault jogged over to her from the end of the court to catch up with her before she left.

"It didn't feel like my first WNBA finals closeout game", the poised Stewart said.

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