COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 7, 2014) - On the heels of a fifth gold medal with USA Basketball that was earned at the FIBA U19 World Championship this past summer, as well as her participation in the USA Basketball Women's National Team mini-camp in October, Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut/North Syracuse, N.Y.) today was named the 2013 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year.
"It's a great honor," 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."
In leading the USA to a 9-0 record and gold medal at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, Stewart was named MVP of the 16-team tournament. Having also won a gold medal at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, Stewart became one of just three U.S. female athletes to have played on two USA U19 World Championship Teams.
"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," said Katie Meier, USA U19 and University of Miami head coach.
Having earned the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year honor in 2011 as well, Stewart is the youngest repeat recipient of the award, and she joins a prestigious group of athletes who have earned the honor more than once, including Teresa Edwards (2000, 1996, 1990, 1987), Lisa Leslie (2002, 1998, 1993), Cheryl Miller (1984, 1986), Dawn Staley (2004, 1994) and Diana Taurasi (2006, 2010, 2012).
"USA Basketball is very proud to honor Breanna as our 2013 Female Athlete of the Year," said Jim Tooley,USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director. "She not only is an incredible basketball talent, as evidenced by her U19 world championship MVP selection, but she also is a tremendous team leader, and we are very grateful for her dedication and commitment."
USA Basketball's Female Athlete of the Year Award was established in 1980 to recognize a USA Basketball athlete who, during the year of the award, made a significant impact on the success of her team's performance. The USA Basketball Board of Directors is responsible for selecting its annual awards.
As a member of the 2013 USA Women's U19 World Championship Team, Stewart started in all nine games to help the USA capture a 9-0 record and a gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship from July 18-28 in Lithuania.
Along the way to earning tournament MVP, Stewart averaged team-bests of 16.9 points and 24.7 minutes per game while adding 6.2 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 assists per game. She shot 50.9 percent from the field (56-110 FGs), 58.3 percent from 3-point (14-24 3-pt FGs) and 89.7 percent from the free throw line (26-29 FTs).
Among all participants in the world championship field, she ranked first for 3-point field goal percentage, second for free throw percentage and fourth in points per game.
Six times Stewart led the team in scoring, and she scored 20-or-more points four times, including a high of 26 points versus Lithuania on July 18. She led the team in scoring and rebounding in the gold medal win over France with 16 points and nine rebounds, and in a semifinal win over Australia, she led the team in rebounding with eight and scored 14 of her game-high 23 points during a game-clinching 21-0 U.S. run.
Stewart set a USA U19 women's competition record for most points scored with 152 points. Her 26 points against Lithuania on July 18 rank as the second-most in USA U19 women's single-game history (behind three players tied for first), and she ranks tied for second in free throw percentage after making 8-of-8 from the line versus Lithuania.
Stewart also helped the USA to the tournament crown at the Lanzarote International Tournament with wins over Australia, Spain and Canada from July 12-14 in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. During exhibition play, she averaged 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
At the 2013 USA Women's National Team mini-camp from Oct. 4-6 in Las Vegas, Stewart was the youngest participant among the 27 players on the court, and she was one of just six collegiate athletes.
As a freshman at the University of Connecticut in 2012-13, Stewart aided the Huskies to a 35-4 record and the 2013 NCAA National Championship, and she averaged 13.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
She was named the 2013 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player, the fourth freshman in history to earn the honor, and the 2013 NCAA Regional MOP. Following the 2012-13 season, she also took home Full Court Press Freshman All-American first team honors and was named All-Big East Conference honorable mention and to the Big East All-Freshman and All-Tournament teams.
Thus far in the 2013-14 NCAA season, Stewart has started in all 15 games for the Huskies to help her team to a 15-0 record, and she is leading the team with 18.1 points per game to go along with 8.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game (as of Jan. 6).
Source: USA Basketball Press Release