Storm wins WNBA title
Storm finishes off sweep of Atlanta to win its second WNBA championship.
Seattle Times staff reporter
ATLANTA — Midway through the third quarter of Game 3 of the WNBA Finals, Storm star Lauren Jackson was scored on, stripped of the ball, then flung around like a rag doll.
The Atlanta Dream had taken the lead, to the delight of most of the 10,522 fans in sold-out Philips Arena on Thursday night.
But Jackson wasn't going out like that. No one in Seattle green was.
Sparked by Jackson's muscle and back-to-back three-pointers by Swin Cash, the Storm roared back to beat the Dream 87-84 to win its second WNBA championship.
The victory capped a perfect 7-0 run through the playoffs and a three-game sweep of the Dream.
But it was far from easy.
Down by six points with less the five minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Storm used a 20-3 run to pull ahead.
Atlanta forward Angel McCoughtry, who scored a WNBA Finals record 35 points, kept her team in the game, though. The Dream closed the gap to three points in the last 30 seconds.
But McCoughtry missed a free throw, so teammate Iziane Castro Marques' basket inside 10 seconds cut the lead to one. McCoughtry then fouled Camille Little, who made both free throws with six seconds left. McCoughtry missed a three-point attempt in the final seconds that could have sent the game to overtime, but instead set off a Storm celebration on the court.
Jackson, who scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half, was voted the Finals MVP by a panel of seven media members, including The Seattle Times. But any of the Storm's starters could have been chosen. Cash scored a team-high 18 points Thursday and point guard Sue Bird had 14 points and seven assists.
The Storm won the WNBA title in 2004 but had been eliminated from the postseason in the first round the next five seasons.
The team organized a rally for fans who didn't make the trip at the Seattle Center's West Plaza on Thursday night. But celebrations will be quick for players.
The World Championships start Sept. 23 in the Czech Republic, where the winner receives an automatic berth to the London Olympic Games. Jackson's Australian team is the defending champion.
Six Storm players are expected to participate in tournament, including Czech native Jana Vesela.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 206-464-2067 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email@example.com
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