Breanna Stewart

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Breanna Stewart
Breanna Stewart at UConn Stanford game.jpg
College Connecticut
Conference American Athletic Conference
Sport Basketball
Position Guard/Forward
Jersey # 30
Class Junior
Career 2012–present
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg)
Nationality American
Born (1994-08-27) August 27, 1994 (age 19)
Syracuse, New York
High school Cicero – North Syracuse High School
Awards
2014 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year
2013 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
2012 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year
2012 Naismith High School Girl’s Player of the Year
2011 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year
2011 All-FIBA U19 World Championship Team
2011 Gatorade New York Girls Basketball Player of the Year
2010 Parade All-America fourth team
2010 ESPN Rise All-America second team

Breanna Stewart (born August 27, 1994) is an American basketball player at the University of Connecticut.

She completed her high school career at Cicero – North Syracuse High School in North Syracuse, New York. She played on the USA Basketball U16, U17 and U19 teams, where she helped each team win a Gold Medal. Stewart was selected to be on the USA Women's Pan American Team, only the second high school player to be selected for this USA team, along with Nancy Lieberman, who played on the 1975 team.[1] She signed with the University of Connecticut and enrolled at the school in the fall of 2012.

Early years[edit]

Stewart is the daughter of Brian and Heather Stewart and has one brother, Conor. Stewart began playing basketball at an early age, and in fifth grade, decided she wanted to improve her game. Now six feet four inches tall, she had always been tall for her age, which often meant coaches wanted her inside as a rebounder. However, her father thought it would help if she had ball handling skills, and a perimeter shooting ability. Stewart started a routine of dribbling around her block, wearing headphones. She completed enough loops to cover a mile.[2] She surprised her parents by continuing the routine almost every day, improving her ball handling to the point she routinely dribbled behind her back or between her legs. Even after heading off to college, she still does the routine when at home.[3]

High School career[edit]

Stewart attended Cicero – North Syracuse High School (C-NS) in Cicero, New York, where she played for head coach Eric Smith.[4]

Stewart first played for the high school team while still in eighth grade. She played as a starter in most games, and averaged nine points, almost nine rebounds and seven blocks per game. In her freshman year, she almost doubled her point production scoring 17 points per game. That year, her team had a 21–3 record, and made it to the regional final game.[5]

In her sophomore year, she was a starter in every game, and upped her scoring average to 22 points per game. In that year, her team record was 18–4. As a junior, she helped lead her team to the state AA public school title, with a 22–3 record for the year. Stewart averaged 24 points and 15 rebounds for the season.[5] During her junior year, she made the announcement she would be attending the University of Connecticut. The day after the announcement, she dunked the ball in a game against Baldwinsville, her first career dunk.[6][7]

Stewart achieved a milestone on January 31, 2012, when she scored her 2,000th point, as part of a 31–0 run against Auburn.[8]

Stewart was selected as a member of the 2012 McDonald's All-American team, which represents the twenty-four best female high school basketball players. The selected players are grouped into two squads, which compete in the annual McDonald's All-American Game, held this year in Chicago.[9]

Stewart was selected to the 2012 Women's Basketball Coaches Association High School Coaches' All-America Team. The top twenty high school players in the country are named as WBCA All-Americans, and eligible to play in the all-star game. She participated in the 2012 WBCA High School All-America Game, scoring ten points.[10][11]

Stewart was named the 2012 Naismith High School Girl’s Player of the Year, the honor awarded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the best female high school basketball player in the country.[12][13]

In March 2012, in a surprise presentation by Tamika Catchings, Stewart received the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award.[14][15] Stewart is one of six finalists for the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.[16]

Tournaments[edit]

In addition to regularly scheduled post-season tournaments, the success of her high school team led to invitations to prominent national tournaments. The C-NS team traveled to Philadelphia, New Jersey and Disney World last year,[when?] and to Springfield, Massachusetts the next year to play in a Basketball Hall of Fame Tournament, and went to the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Arizona, considered the "premier showcase of all high school girls tournaments."[when?][17]

Tournament of Champions[edit]

The Tournament of Champions is an annual event, since 1997, showcasing the best high school girls basketball teams.[18] The 2011 event, held in Phoenix, Arizona included 96 of the best basketball programs in the country.[19] The C-NS team was assigned to the Smith Division, where they faced Bolingbrook High School, considered to be the number 1 team by USA Today.[20] Despite being viewed as a 30-point underdog, Stewart helped her team to the first round upset, scoring 15 points in a 43–40 win.[21][22] In the quarter-final game, Stewart scored 29 points and had 19 rebounds to help the team beat the number 22 ranked team in the country, Dr. Phillips High School from Orlando, Florida. Although double-teamed, she scored ten points in a 12–0 run that gave C-NS a commanding 23-point lead early in the fourth quarter.[23] That win secured a place in the semi-finals of the division. In the semi-final game, C-NC faced St. Mary's, the number 2 ranked team in the country. Stewart had 33 points and 16 rebounds, but it was not enough to overcome the scoring of the eventual champion of the tournament.[24] Although the team lost that game, Stewart's overall performance earned her the most outstanding player of the tournament honors.[25] Stewart is viewed as an offensive threat in the low post, high post and perimeter, and with her long wing span, is effective as a defender as well.[26]

2012 Hoophall Classic[edit]

Breanna Stewart at 2012 Hoophall Classic
Most Outstanding Player 2012 Hoophall Classic Award

Stewart's Northstars team were invited to play in the annual Hoophall Classic, held in Springfield, Massachusetts and typically featuring some of the best high school teams in the country. Their opponents were the local West Springfield team, not nationally ranked, but 8–0 at the time of the meeting. The result was not close, as Cicero North team beat West Springfield 60–20, with Stewart alone scoring more points than the opposition. Stewart ended the game with 22 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks, despite leaving the game in the third period and not returning. Her performance earned her the Most Outstanding Player award for the event.[27][28][29]

USA basketball[edit]

U16[edit]

Stewart was selected to join the USA Basketball U16 team, at age fourteen, the youngest member of the team. Initially, her parents turned down the invitation to join the team, worried about the amount of time she would be missing school. However, Mike Flynn, director of a prominent AAU team, persuaded her parents that the invitation was an honor, so they relented.[3] All other team members were fifteen or sixteen at the time. She stood six feet, three inches at the time, the same height as Kiah Stokes and Elizabeth Williams. Despite being the youngest, she earned the starting role for all five games, scoring just under ten points per games, topping Elizabeth Williams for the team lead in blocks. She helped the team win the Gold Medal in the First FIBA Americas U16 Championship For Women, held in Mexico City, Mexico. The win secured an automatic bid to the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship, held in Rodez & Toulouse, France.[30]

U17[edit]

Stewart continued with the USA team as it became the U17 team. She earned a starting role in all eight games. In the first game, against the host team from France, she led all scorers with 13 points. In the final preliminary game against Japan, she led all scorers with 30 points. In the eight-game tournament, she averaged 12.8 points per game, second only to Elizabeth Williams at 13.5 points per game. She was the team leader with 18 blocks, helping the USA team to win all eight games and win the gold medal in the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship for Women.[31][32]

U19[edit]

Ariel Massengale and Breanna Stewart, two of the five players named to the five-member All-FIBA U19 World Championship Team

In 2011, Stewart was selected to be on the USA basketball U19 team.[33] The U18 team won the 2010 Americas Championship, thus earning an automatic bid to the U19 World Championship, held in Puerto Montt, Chile. Although she was one of the youngest players on the team, Stewart averaged 11.2 points per game to post the highest scoring average of the USA players. She was also one of the five players named to the all tournament team. Ariel Massengale was the other USA player to earn all tournament honors.

Pan American[edit]

The USA Pan American team members are usually chosen from the college ranks, although many of the other countries use their national teams, which include professional players. Stewart is the only high school player chosen for the 2011 Pan American team, and only the second high school player in Pan American team history for the USA teams. The only other high school player on a Pan American team was Nancy Lieberman, who played on the 1975 team, before Stewart was born.[34]

The 2011 team finished seventh, the first time in history they did not earn a medal, but Stewart, almost three years younger than the next youngest player, was still a major contributor, scoring 15.4 points per game to lead the team in scoring. She also led the team in blocks and rebounds.

Basketball athlete of the year[edit]

Stewart was named the 2011 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. USA basketball cited her performance on the U19 team and the Pan American team. She was the second youngest on the U19 team, yet led the team in points, rebounds and blocks, helping to lead her team to a Gold medal at the international competition, and earning a position on the all-tournament team. She occupies several spots in the U19 record books. She was named to the Pan American team, only the second high school player from the USA to receive such a bid. Despite playing with college age players, she earned a starting position for all games, and again led the team in points, rebounds and blocks. The previous year’s winner of the award was Diana Taurasi.[8][35] She earned the award again in 2013, becoming only the seventh player in history to win the award twice.[36]

U18[edit]

Stewart was named to the USA basketball U-18 team. She joined future UConn teammates Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck on the twelve-player squad that competed in the 2012 FIBA Americas U-18 National Championship, held in August 2012, in Puerto Rico. Stewart was the youngest, and only high school player, on the 2011 USA Women’s Pan American Games team, but was the player with the most international experience on the team.[37][38] The team started by winning their first four games with margins of victory of 40 points or more. This set up the championship game against Brazil. The team from Brazil started strong, and held a double-digit lead early in the game. After scoring only seven points in the first quarter, the team scored 21 or more in the next three quarters and reclaimed the lead. When the game came to a close, the USA team won 71–47 to claim the gold medal.[39]

Stewart was awarded the MVP trophy as the best player in the FIBA Americas U18 competition.[40]

2013 U19 - Lithuania[edit]

Stewart, along with teammates Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, were three of the twelve players selected to be on the team representing the USA at the U19 World Championship for Women held in Klaipėda and Panevėžys, Lithuania, in July 2013.[41]

Repeat USA Basketball Athlete of the Year[edit]

Stewart was named the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year for the second time. Only five other players have won this award more than once, Teresa Edwards, Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller, Dawn Staley and Diana Taurasi, and none have accomplished this at so young an age. Stewart helped the USA to a 9–0 record in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, leading to a gold medal for the team, and MVP honors for Stewart.[42]

University of Connecticut career[edit]

Stewart was recruited by many schools, but after a campus visit in 2011, she told the coaching staff, "I would like to commit if you'd take me". Committing requires a formal letter of intent. Many players sign at a media event organized to cover the ceremony; Stewart signed her letter on the hood of a car, then gave it to her father to fax to the school.[3]

Freshmen Year[edit]

Stewart started her freshman year in strong fashion, scoring at least 20 points in three of her first four games, She scored a total of 169 points in her first ten games, which is more than any other Connecticut Husky freshman. However, her output slowed, and her scoring average dropped below ten points for her last eighteen regular season games.[43] In March, she started early morning session with Chris Daily, associate head coach, to concentrate on shooting and post moves.[44] She came back strong in the Big East tournament, with a total of 51 points, matching the number scored by Diana Taurasi in her tournament debut. Her strong performance continued in the NCAA tournament.[43] She did not play in the first round, due to a calf injury, but scored 105 points in the last five games, earning her the award of the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, the first freshman to win the award since 1987.[45]

Sophomore Year[edit]

Stewart continued her stellar play in her sophomore year, her coaches noticed that she was demanding the ball more often, something she occasionally did as a freshman, but usually only if she thought she was playing well.[2]By the end of her sophomore year, she was named the AP Player of the year, only the third time in history a sophomore has won the honor. The other two recipients were UConn's Maya Moore and Oklahoma's Courtney Paris.[46] Stewart started and played in all 40 games of 2013-2014 season. She led the team at 19.4 points and 2.8 blocks per game and was second on the team with 8.1 rebounds per contest, and fourth on the squad at 49.7 percent shooting and her 291 field goals made was the third-highest single-season total in UConn annals. Her 324 boards marked the 12th-highest single-season total in school history and her 110 rejections was the third-highest mark.

Established a new school record with 147 free throws made and led the team with 190 attempts from the charity stripe. One of four Huskies to total at least 100 assists, Stewart dished-out 122 helpers against only 67 turnovers after posting 35 assists and 54 turnovers during her freshman season. Scored a career-high 37 points during a 93-56 victory at Temple on January 11. The 37 points marked the eighth-highest single-game total in school history. She recorded double-figure scoring in all but two games, including UConn's last 31-straight, and scored at least 20 points on 21 occasions, while she averaged 21.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game during UConn's run to the 2014 American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship and was selected as the event's Most Outstanding Player Stewart averaged a team-high 18.0 points per game and shot 48.8 percent from the floor during UConn's six-game march through the NCAA Tournament and led the team in scoring 22 times and in blocks on 17 occasions.[47]

University of Connecticut Statistics[edit]

Breanna Stewart Statistics at University of Connecticut
Year G FG FGA PCT 3FG 3FGA PCT FT FTA PCT REB AVG A TO B S MIN PTS AVG
2012-13 36 191 376 0.508 28 84 0.333 87 112 0.777 229 6.36 35 54 74 41 854 497 13.8
2013-14 40 291 586 0.497 48 140 0.343 147 190 0.774 324 8.10 122 67 110 63 1221 777 19.4
Totals 76 482 962 0.501 76 224 0.339 234 302 0.775 553 7.28 157 121 184 104 2075 1274 16.8

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2010—ESPN Rise All-America second team[48]
  • 2010—Parade All-America fourth team[49]
  • 2011—Gatorade New York Girls Basketball Player of the Year[15]
  • 2011—All-FIBA U19 World Championship Team[50]
  • 2011—USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year[35]
  • 2012—WBCA High School Coaches' All-America Team[10]
  • 2013—Most Valuable Player award at the 2012 Paradise Jam Tournament[51]
  • 2013—Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, the first freshman to win the award since 1987.[45]
  • 2013—NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team.[52]
  • 2013—ESPNW 2013-14 preseason player of the year[53]
  • 2013—USA Basketball female athlete of the year[54]
  • 2014—American Athletic Conference Player of the Year[55]
  • 2014—ESPNW player of the year[56]
  • 2014—ESPNW First team All-American[57]
  • 2014—USBWA All-American team [58]
  • 2014—AP All-American First Team [59]
  • 2014—AP Player of the Year [46]
  • 2014—Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's Player of the Year [60]
  • 2014—Winner of the Honda Sports Award for basketball[61]
  • 2014—Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four

References[edit]

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