Friday, January 27, 2012

Today UConn commit Breanna Stewart (Syracuse, NY) was named the 2011 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. She becomes the 3rd Husky to win (Diana Taurasi '06, '10 & Tina Charles '09) and is now part of the impressive list of athletes (Leslie, Staley, Edwards, Miller, Holdsclaw, Augustus, etc.) who have won the award since it started in 1980. A member of the gold-medal winning 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team that competed July 21-31 in Puerto Montt, Chile, Stewart also played for the 2011 USA Pan American Games Team that competed Oct. 21-25 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“It is exciting because this is a pretty big award,” Stewart said. “I’m just honored to be thought of as USA Basketball’s Female Athlete of the Year.”

“Breanna Stewart ranks up with Maya Moore as one of the most competitive young players that I've ever seen,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, 2011 USA U19 and University of Hartford head coach, and the 2011 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year. “She has the ability to tremendously impact the game on both ends of the floor. She works constantly to improve all aspects of her game, and I look forward to watching her growth as she develops into an even more complete player. Her desire to win and compete on every possession raised the level of intensity for our team and was crucial to our winning the gold medal.”

As the second youngest member of the 2011 USA U19 team, Stewart started in three of nine games and in just 19.9 minutes per contest, averaged team-highs of 11.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game to help the USA to an 8-1 record and gold medal at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship. Shooting 46.8 percent from the field (36-77 FGs), Stewart was named to the five-member All-FIBA U19 World Championship Team. In the USA women’s U19 record book, Stewart lists third for blocked shots (15) and fourth for rebounds (66). Among all participants in the 16-team field, she ranked second in blocked shots (1.7 bpg.), and 10th in rebounding (7.3 rpg.) and defensive rebounding (4.9 rpg.). As just the second U.S. high school girls basketball player to represent her country in Pan American Games history, Stewart was the only high school player on the 2011 USA Pan American Games Team, which included 11 collegiate athletes. Starting in all four games, Stewart led the team in scoring (15.3 ppg.), rebounding (11.3 rpg.), blocked shots (1.8 bpg.) and minutes played (27.8 mpg.) to help the USA to a 2-2 record and seventh-place finish. She shot 50.0 percent from the field (19-38 FGs) and 88.5 percent from the free throw line (23-26 FTs). Stewart compiled 18 points, four blocked shots and a U.S. Pan American Games record 21 rebounds in the USA’s opening game against Argentina. Stewart lists second in the U.S. Women’s Pan American Games Team record book for blocked shots (9), third for rebounds (45) and fourth in free throw percentage (.885). Among all participants in the 2011 Pan American Games eight-team field, Stewart ranked first in free-throw percentage (.885) and blocked shots (2.3 bpg.); second in rebounding (11.3 rpg.) and defensive rebounds (7.5 rpg.); third in field goal percentage (.500) and offensive boards (3.8 rpg.); and fifth in points (15.3 ppg.). As a junior at Cicero-North Syracuse High School in 2010-11, she led her team to a 22-3 record, the New York Section 3 and New York Class AA state titles. Starting in all 25 games, she averaged 24.3ppg, 11.5rpg, 3.0apg, 2.8spg and 4.2bpg. Thus far in 2011-12, she is averaging 24.2ppg has helped her team to a 12-2 record as of Jan. 26.

Additionally, USA Basketball will nominate Stewart for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s 2011 SportsWoman of the Year, which will be announced in 2012. The USA Basketball Board of Directors is responsible for selecting USA Basketball’s annual award winners.

“In her third consecutive summer playing for USA Basketball, Breanna was an important part of two USA teams,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO. “Anyone who has seen her play knows what an incredible athlete she is, and how much fun it is to watch her play. She has shown dedication and commitment, and we are very proud to recognize her efforts.”

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