|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CT22:00 , October 6, 2020
IMG Academy Gymnasium, Bradenton, Florida
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History beckons to the Seattle Storm, who look to become only the third four-time WNBA champions and complete a sweep of the Las Vegas Aces on Tuesday night in Game 3 of the finals.
The Storm are looking to join the Houston Comets and the Minnesota Lynx - the team they swept aside in the semifinals - as the only four-time champions in league history. After a star turn by Breanna Stewart powered a Game 1 victory, it was a more collaborative effort in Sunday's 104-91 victory in Game 2.
Stewart again took center stage with 22 points, but Alysha Clark added 21 as all five starters finished in double figures. Sue Bird - a member of the other three title-winning teams - followed up her record-setting 16-assist effort in Game 1 with another 10 as Seattle set a WNBA Finals record with 33 helpers on 40 field goals as they shot 57.1 percent overall and 12 of 26 from 3-point range.
"Having high assists isn't abnormal for us. Thirty-three is amazing, goes to show the unselfishness of everyone on the floor and the confidence we have in one and another," Clark told The Associated Press. "Pass up a good shot to get a great shot. When you do those things 33 assists happen, wow."
Bird, who is two weeks shy of 40, refuses to get complacent on the cusp of another title, noting post-game via video conference, "Game 3 is not going to be easy. You just have to stay in the moment, possession by possession. They're good. It's tough. These are battles. The score doesn't indicate it and I'm sure it will be the same in Game 3."
As history calls to the Storm, it also looks to be daunting for the Aces. No team has ever overcome a 2-0 series deficit in the WNBA playoffs, and specific to this series, the absence of injured two-time Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby has loomed large.
Regular-season MVP A'ja Wilson has done her part in the two games, totaling 39 points. Fellow starters Angel McCoughtry and Kayla McBride also have been consistent on the offensive end, but coach Bill Laimbeer needs his short-handed bench to deliver to have any chance of extending this series.
"Everybody knew coming in they had a full contingent and were going to be quality players," Laimbeer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "We missed (Dearica) Hamby very badly. They have their full squad, and they can keep fresher legs than we can. At the same time, we still have enough to get the job done."
Emma Cannon did fill some of that void Sunday with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, but fellow supersub Jackie Young's postseason shooting woes continued. She was held to four points on 2-of-7 shooting and has averaged 7.3 points on 32.1 percent shooting in seven playoff games - well off her season average of 11 points on 49.2 percent shooting.
Laimbeer also griped about the officiating from Game 2, during which the Aces attempted only five free throws compared to the Storm's 15 despite outscoring Seattle 46-44 in the paint.
Should the Aces win and extend this series, Game 4 will be played Thursday night.
Updated October 5, 2020