Stewart lands award to re-enforce case for Turkey

Jan 09, 2014
The phenomenal Breanna Stewart has scooped the prestigious USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year award for a second time.

The phenomenal Breanna Stewart has scooped the prestigious USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year award for a second time as she continues making a bid for inclusion in the team that will look to defend its title at the FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey.

The teenager led USA to a 9-0 record and gold medal at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship and was named MVP of the 16-team tournament in Lithuania after an array of sparkling displays.

Stewart ranked first in the competition in three-point shooting percentage (58.3 percent), second in free-throw percentage (89.7 percent) and fourth in scoring (16.9 points per game). She also led the team in the gold medal win over France with 16 points and nine rebounds, as well as setting a USA competition record for scoring in the tournament with 152 points.

Having previously won a gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Chile in 2011, Stewart became one of just three U.S. female athletes to have played on two USA U19 World Championship teams.

"It's a great honour," said Stewart, who also earned the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year award in 2011.

"I love competing with USA Basketball and have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to do that for the last several years.

"I'm so happy and thankful that USA Basketball has given me all the opportunities it has to travel abroad and learn a lot."

Stewart is the youngest repeat recipient of the accolade, joining an elite club of multiple winners including Teresa Edwards, Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller, Dawn Staley and Diana Taurasi.

Tributes to the player and her accomplishments were led by USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director, Jim Tooley.

He said: "USA Basketball is very proud to honour Breanna as our 2013 Female Athlete of the Year.

"She not only is an incredible basketball talent, as evidenced by her FIBA U19 World Championship for Women MVP selection, but she also is a tremendous team leader and we are very grateful for her dedication and commitment."

Katie Meier coached the forward last year on Lithuanian soil and said of the 1.93m forward: "Breanna is an amazing talent who is respectful of her opportunities, and at the same time, she will take over every big-time ball game she is a part of."

As a freshman at the University of Connecticut in 2012-13, Stewart helped the Huskies to a 35-4 record and the 2013 NCAA National Championship.

She was named the 2013 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player, only the fourth freshman in history to earn the honour.

Following the 2012-13 season, she also took home Full Court Press Freshman All-American first team honours and was named All-Big East Conference honorable mention and to the Big East All-Freshman and All-Tournament teams.

So far during the current NCAA season, Stewart has started in every game and is leading the unbeaten Huskies with an average of 18.1 points and eight boards each time she steps onto the hardwood.

The player is continuing her meteoric rise and stunning development at UConn under the watchful eye of USA head coach Geno Auriemma.

And, despite taking the tender age of Stewart into account, the play-caller may be finding it harder and harder to resist handing her a spot on the senior roster for the FIBA World Championship for Women later this year.