SEATTLE – Breanna Stewart scored nine of her 25 points in the fourth quarter, Sue Bird came up with a key defensive play in the final 10 seconds, and the top-seeded Seattle Storm held off the Washington Mystics 75-73 on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the WNBA Finals.
Seattle will go to Washington for Game 3 on Wednesday night needing only a split back east to win the third title in franchise history. Since the WNBA went to a best-of-five Finals format in 2005, no team has lost the first two games and fought back to force a Game 5.
"It came down to a stop, and I thought we did a really good job," Seattle coach Dan Hughes said. "This is a team that has grown defensively. All year, we have watched the defensive numbers get better and better."
Stewart went nearly 18 minutes of game time without scoring but was responsible for six of Seattle's final seven points as the Storm held off Washington's late rally.
The league MVP got her touches in the closing minutes, while Washington didn't make sure star Elena Delle Donne got her opportunities. Delle Donne finished with 17 points but was scoreless in the fourth quarter and took just one shot.
Delle Donne's final points came when she converted a three-point play late in the third quarter.
"I think we fell in love too much with me getting the ball on the block. I'm more than just a back-to-the-basket type of player. Playing in space opens up my teammates, also opens myself up," Delle Donne said. "We've got to find a way to not become one-dimensional."
Wilson is voted MVP
Las Vegas' A'ja Wilson ran away with WNBA Rookie of the Year honors, receiving all 39 votes from a media panel. The No. 1 pick in the April draft scored in double figures in all 34 games and averaged 20.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks for the Aces. It's the second-highest scoring average for a rookie in league history, trailing only Seimone Augustus of the Lynx's 21.9 points in 2006. Wilson is practicing with the U.S. national team.