One of the league's most decorated players also grasps the impact of her latest triumph. "I packed really lightly", Collier said. "I would have loved to have made those last two at the end, but the majority of the game, just being aggressive, assertive and doing the plays to win the game". She motivates me and in return, you want to give her something too. It never has been. "She makes your team better. Once we got Stewie and Jewell, we knew we'd get to the other side, but how do you know you're going to get to the other side this fast?" And we did that.
"We spent a lot of our time this year relying on a rookie player as our third scorer", Thibault said. Following the Phoenix loss, Seattle won five in a row.
Bird returned from a broken nose suffered 48 hours earlier for masked heroics, in which she took over in the clutch while scoring 14 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter of a decisive Game 5 win in the semis.
The Storm became the sixth team to sweep a Finals in three games - something the team did in 2010.
It's only fitting she closed out the season with a double-double. Bird persevered through a long and at times painful rebuild after Jackson's departure, gutted her way through a knee injury that cost her an entire season, determined to still be there when the good times returned.
"A successful one", veteran guard Kristi Toliver said when asked to evaluate the Mystics' season. If it all sounded a bit mundane a day after the end of the best run in team history, Thibault said: "That's kind of how it goes when you have a good season".
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Hughes came out of retirement at age 63 for one more crack at a WNBA title, which had eluded him during 15 previous seasons coaching in San Antonio, Cleveland and Charlotte. It was another six years before she was back in the finals winning another title. She truly was the MVP of these Finals.
But they're gone now and only Bird remains. Washington's Entertainment and Sports Arena is scheduled to open September 22 and will house the entire Mystics operation, offices for Thibault and his staff included.
Now Bird is a champion once again on a young team seemingly at the start of a dynasty. Natasha Howard, the best player on the court on Wednesday, added a put-back, and Sami Whitcomb came off the bench to drain a three-pointer.
Although most of the team didn't shut their eyes until they got on a plane this morning, they said it was worth it to see all the fans waiting for them when they got home.
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.
"Each (championship) is special in its own way, but this one is probably going to have a different meaning for me", said the 37-year-old point guard who had 10 points and 10 assists.