Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Stewart leads UConn to eighth national title

Even before Breanna Stewart had played a second as a member of the UConn women's basketball team, the hype machine was in overdrive.

Her exploits with USA Basketball including being the leading scorer on a Pan Am team featuring a roster of college starts led one prominent WNBA coach to guarantee that Stewart would be a member of the 2016 Olympic team and others predicting that she was destined to join the all-time greats.

When she scored at least 20 points in three of her first four games, it seemed like she would live up to all the advanced billing.

Then without warning Stewart began to look like an ordinary freshman. The low point came when she missed 8 of 10 shots in the final two games of the regular season.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma wasn't quite sure what to make of his gifted prodigy. Then all of sudden the proverbial light bulb went on. In the days leading up to the Big East Auriemma boldly told his coaching staff that he thought Stewart would be the Big East tournament's Most Outstanding Player if the Huskies were to win the Big East title. She likely would have just that if UConn hadn't fallen to Notre Dame in the title game.

After missing the NCAA opener against Idaho due to a strained calf, Stewart erupted onto the scene but nothing could top her effort in the two games in the Final Four when she had 52 points, many of the spectacular variety to become the first freshman since 1987 to be named the Most Outstanding Player in the event.

"I just wanted to go out and play hard," Stewart said. "I was glad I was able to help my teammates out. They deserved it, especially the seniors, they deserved the national championship.

"It was an adjustment and I didn't think coming in from high school to college things are going to be easy. I kind of had to overcome some adversity and was able to get back to playing basketball."

Stewart joined Southern California’s Cheryl Miller, Texas’ Clarissa Davis and Tonya Edwards of Tennessee as the only freshmen to be Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four. Edwards was the last to accomplish that feat back in 1987 which is seven years before she was born.
"I've seen her play in the summers a bunch and in high school," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "She's just a phenomenal player.  I think Geno saved her for the tournament because he didn't play her as much throughout the year.  So I guess he knew what he was doing. 

"I think what you've seen from her in the NCAA Tournament, especially in the Final Four, is what all of us had expected the entire year, to be honest.  And I think she got injured at one point and then was going through just some growing pains as a freshman, but she sure figured it out at the right time." 


Anonymous Anonymous said...


WCBB has zero parity at the top - unless the refs allow mugging an opponent.

Hope the NCAA is proud to have a blowout for the national championship.

7 National Championships since 2000 is NOT parity.

7:32 AM 

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