Natasha Howard had been a reserve in the WNBA Finals the past three seasons. This year, she played a starring role. Howard had a career-high 29 points, plus 14 rebounds, in the Seattle Storm’s 98-82 victory over the Washington Mystics in Game 3 on Wednesday.
It completed a sweep for the Storm, who know they couldn’t have done it without the 6-foot-2 post player. Howard was the league’s most improved player this season, progress that came mostly because she had more of a chance to play in Seattle. She came off the bench for Indiana in 2015, and for Minnesota in 2016 and ’17.cheap nfl nike jerseys china
A February trade sent her to a franchise that needed her exact skill set. And her experience with the Fever and the Lynx in previous WNBA Finals showed in how well she played throughout this year for the Storm.
After 13.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game during the regular season, she averaged 15.8 PPG and 8.3 RPG in Seattle’s eight playoff games.
“Natasha Howard, what an incredible story to me,” Seattle coach Dan Hughes said. “The way she realized that opportunity, and what she did, and how she blended with this basketball team.”
Howard is a native of Toledo, Ohio, and Hughes was once an assistant coach at the University of Toledo when Howard’s father played there. When he was coach in San Antonio, Hughes always hoped he might get to mentor Howard, who starred collegiately at Florida State and then was drafted No. 5 by Indiana in 2014.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
But it didn’t look as if it was ever going to happen when Hughes retired after the 2016 season. The chance to come back in 2018 with a championship-caliber team was something Hughes couldn’t pass up. It meant getting to coach a veteran leader like Sue Bird, an MVP-caliber star like Breanna Stewart and — at last — a player like Howard, with so much potential waiting to be realized.