Seattle Storm in WNBA Finals
BRADENTON, Fla. — Breanna Stewart put forth a career effort to get the Seattle Storm back to the WNBA Finals.
Stewart scored a career playoff-high 31 points — tying Seattle’s franchise playoff record — and Sue Bird had 16 points and nine assists, and the Storm beat Minnesota 92-71 on Sunday to sweep the Lynx and advance to the championship round for the second time in three seasons. The Storm won the title in 2018.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be back,” Stewart said. “[To] be back with Seattle and be back in the Finals and I can’t wait for Game 1 Friday.”
Stewart, who missed all of last season while recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon, added six rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. Mercedes Russell tied her season high with 10 points for the No. 2-seed Storm.
The Storm will play either top-seeded Las Vegas or No. 7 seed Connecticut in the Finals, which begin Friday.
Bird and Stewart combined to score or assist on 13 points during a 17-0 run that gave Seattle a 24-8 lead.
Minnesota went on a 16-5 run to make it 48-41 about three minutes into the third quarter.
Stewart answered with back-to-back layups and, after Jewell Loyd made another layup, Stewart converted a three-point play and then hit a 3 in a 12-0 run that made it 60-41 about four minutes later and Minnesota trailed by double figures the rest of the way.
Napheesa Collier led Minnesota with 22 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Damiris Dantas and Crystal Dangerfield — the 2020 WNBA rookie of the year — scored 16 points apiece and Sims added 10 points.
A’s 6, Mariners 2
OAKLAND, Calif — Mark Canha drove in four runs and the Oakland Athletics came back to beat the Seattle Mariners 6-2 on Sunday in their final tune-up before the postseason.
Oakland’s victory, coupled with Minnesota’s loss to Cincinnati, gave the AL West champion A’s the No. 2 seed in the American League playoffs. They’ll be home at the Coliseum for a best-of-three series against the seventh-seeded Chicago White Sox beginning Tuesday.
Frankie Montas had a career-high 13 strikeouts in six innings for Oakland.
Seattle starter Marco Gonzales, who has not lost since Aug. 11, allowed two runs and six hits in five innings and had a no-decision. He missed out on becoming the sixth pitcher in Mariners history to win six consecutive starts.
Even with the loss, Seattle made big strides in this shortened season. The Mariners, who were 68-94 and 39 games out of first place in 2019, finished 27-33, 10 games behind the A’s.
The Associated Press