Stewart, Bird help Storm rout Aces; go up 2-0 in WNBA Finals

PALMETTO, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 04: Breanna Stewart #30, Natasha Howard #6, Jewell Loyd #24, Alysha Clark #32, and Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm meet after a foul during the first half of Game Two of the WNBA Finals against the Las Vegas Aces at Feld

Breanna Stewart scored 22 points and Seattle moved within a victory of a WNBA championship, beating the Las Vegas Aces 104-91 on Sunday.

The Storm will try to win their fourth title with a victory in Game 3 on Tuesday night. They won championships in 2004, 2010 and 2018, and Sue Bird was running the show in all three of them.

Two days after she set the WNBA Finals and playoffs record with 16 assists, the 39-year-old guard had 10 to go along with 16 points. The team had 33 assists to set a WNBA championship round record as the Storm had a more balanced offense. Stewart had 37 points in the series opener and Jewell Loyd added 28 in that game.

On Sunday, the Storm had five players in double figures. Natasha Howard and Alysha Clark added 21 each to go along with Stewart and Bird’s efforts. Jordin Canada added 10 points of the bench.

The Storm took over after Las Vegas had rallied from a 13-point deficit in the first half to take a 65-64 lead with 3:22 left in the third quarter

Seattle scored 22 of the next 30 points over the next 6 minutes to go up double-digits again with Jewell Loyd ending the burst with a 3-pointer that made it 86-73 with just under 7 minutes left. Las Vegas couldn’t respond.

A’ja Wilson had 20 points to lead Las Vegas while Angel McCoughtry and Emma Cannon added 17 each. Cannon provided a spark off the bench for the Aces, who were missing Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby with a knee injury.

Trailing by six at the half, Las Vegas made a run to take a 53-52 lead on McBride’s 3-pointer early in the third quarter. The Aces led 65-64 with 3:22 left in the period before the Storm closed with a 11-3 burst.

Seattle held a 48-42 halftime lead behind 12 points from Stewart and Clark. The Storm, who had 17 assists on their 18 baskets, built the lead to 13 before Las Vegas rallied to the six-point halftime deficit.

TIP-INS: Bill Laimbeer is 9-2 in his career in postseason games after losing his previous one by double digits. ... Stewart had her fifth consecutive 20-point game in the WNBA Finals spanning back to the 2018 season.

LEAGUE HONORS: Wilson earned All-WNBA recognition for the first time in her young career. She was joined as a unanimous choice by Candace Parker of Los Angeles. Stewart was one vote short of being unanimous. Courtney Vandersloot of Chicago and Arike Ogunbowale of Dallas rounded out the first team. Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith of Phoenix headlined the second team. They were joined by Dewanna Bonner of Connecticut, Myisha Hines-Allen of Washington and Napheesa Collier of Minnesota.