While many sports fans are concerned about the NFL and MLB headlines, one of the biggest stories in sports occurred on September 12th, 2018. The Seattle Storm won the 2018 WNBA Championship. Seattle’s road to glory was a true testament to the rise of MVP Brianna Stewart and the veteran leadership of future hall of fame point guard Sue Bird.
At the beginning of the WNBA season, many projected the young Storm to be a playoff team, but not many were expecting a championship from them quite yet. However, during the regular season, the Seattle Storm proved their dominance by gathering a WNBA best 26-8 record. They further extended their success in the postseason, as they defeated the Phoenix Mercury in 5 games and then swept the Washington Mystics in the WNBA Finals.
The big reason for their dominance is the leadership of Sue Bird. The franchise cornerstone was not only the floor general for the Storm, but she also was instrumental in the development of 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart and All-Star Jewell Loyd, both players who were recent #1 overall draft picks of the Storm. “Sue’s done everything for me,” Stewart told ESPN
reporter Holly Rowe after their championship game. “She’s kind of helped me get to this point, and like you said, if there was one person on this team that I wanted to win it with it was her. And I hope that we can do it many, many more times.”
Although Bird was instrumental in the team’s success, it was Stewart who carried the team to its third ever franchise title. She led the WNBA with 21.8 points and 8.4 rebounds during the regular season and was even better during the postseason. She averaged 23.9 points a game during the playoffs, the most by any player in WNBA history. At 24 years old, she has become the youngest ever Finals MVP in history.
After Seattle's dominant season, people are now asking if Storm can become the WNBA’s next great dynasty. While they do have the star power to do it, there will still be doubts about the 37 year-old Sue Bird’s ability to continue her success. Another problem getting in the way of the Storm’s potential dynasty will be the sum of the other firepower that is forming around the league. After securing their third consecutive first overall pick in 2019, the Las Vegas Aces will have a tremendous amount of young talent that could eventually knock off the Storm. The same Phoenix Mercury team who took the Storm to a winner-take-all game 5 in the WCF will still be intact, and the Dallas Wings’ tandem of Skylar Diggins-Smith and Liz Cambage will always be a challenge.
Regardless, the Seattle Storm have proven that they will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. After their dominant season in 2018, they will only look to build on their success in 2019.