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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

UConn's Stewart excited for U.S. national camp

This won't be the first time that Breanna Stewart will square off against older players but when she heads to the national team training camp it will definitely be a step up in class.

Stewart will be the only active college player taking part in the training camp, which starts next week in Annapolis, Maryland and will include an exhibition game against Canada on Sept. 15 in Bridgeport.

"This is a learning opportunity for me and I had a lot to prove," Stewart said. "I am the only college player.

"I am going to training camp to do whatever I can to make the team. I want to play basketball but if that (being stuck behind experienced players in the rotation) is what happens, I will be fine with that too. It is the national team and this is just a stepping stone towards the Olympics."

Last year Stewart took part in the training camp in Las Vegas and according to UConn and U.S. national team coach Geno Auriemma was one of the most impressive players there.

"When I leading up to it I was really nervous because I had never been around a lot of those players," Stewart said. "They kind of did a great job of just taking me under their wing, making me feel comfortable. Once we got on the court it was just basketball so that made me feel more comfortable, I just played basketball."

It won't be easy as there are 10 former Olympic gold medalists as part of the player pool vying for the 12 spots on the U.S. team playing in the FIBA World Championships.

Auriemma said that Stewart would have as good of a chance as anybody other than the 10 members of the 2012 Olympic team in the player pool of making for the cut.

"You are looking at some pros that are talented, experienced and savvy and you would think it is an uphill climb for Stewie when Stewie was 15 she was playing with the 16 year olds, when she was 16 she was playing with the 17 and 18 year olds and when she was 17 she was playing with pros in the Pan Am team so she is always competed against players a little bit older than her," Auriemma said. "This will be the first time where she is competing against the absolute best players in the world. I think without being biased, there isn't anything they can do that Stewie can't do and there are just at another level in terms of knowing the game."

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