Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

UConn's Breanna Stewart always at home on basketball court


Nobody would blame Breanna Stewart if she wanted to enter a basketball-free zone for a few months after leading UConn to its third national title.

It was a grueling junior season as Stewart was asked to take more of a leadership role following the graduation of Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley so some time off might be something many people would welcome.

However, that it simply not the way she is wired. So she jumped when given the opportunity to spend three days in Las Vegas at the U.S. senior national team training camp. She is also anxiously awaiting a trip to Colorado Springs later this month for the World University Games trials. She will almost certainly be on the U.S. team playing in the World University Games from July 3-12 in South Korea.

"This is what I want to do," Stewart said. "I love playing basketball and I want to do it as often as I can."

I asked Stewart what it would be like if she could spend every week this summer either practicing or playing for a U.S. national team and she predictably said, "that sounds good to me."

Stewart admits that things have been a bit hectic since the national championship game. She will take the last of her final exams on Friday and then gets five days to spend with her family before heading out to Colorado Springs. She is not the only UConn player heading out to the trials for the World University Games and Pan American Games squad. The list will be released tomorrow so while Stewart did give me the names of her teammates, I will wait until tomorrow to reveal them.

UConn and U.S. national team coach Geno Auriemma doesn't believe that Stewart is being overwhelmed physically by time she will be spending with the U.S. national teams.

"Stewie likes to play so it is not like anybody is overdoing it," Auriemma said. "It is not like it is a wear and tear on you. It is more of a mental thing than it is a physical thing and the more that you can play against really good competition the better you can be. Stewie loves the game, she loves to be in the gym and loves to compete. Any chance she gets to do, that makes her a better player."

Since Auriemma looked completely spent the first time I saw him after the 2012 Olympics, I asked him if balancing his UConn and U.S. national team responsibilities can be too much for him at times.

"It does get to you after a while," Auriemma said. "You do look for times when you do get away from everything. There are plenty of opportunities to do that. These things (training camps) come sporadically so they are not all the time, all the time, all the time. For me the more I keep moving the better I am going to do.

"I try to compartmentalize. I am not thinking about the Olympics when I am at UConn and I am not thinking about UConn when I am with the national team. when I am not with either of those teams, I am not thinking about either of those things."


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