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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

UConn's Stewart taking advantage of glorious opportunity

Breanna Stewart wasn't going to lie, the UConn senior All-American was a bit on the groggy side when she got up this morning.

Stewart and her teammates played at East Carolina last night and even with the benefit of a chartered flight back to Connecticut, she didn't return to campus until shortly before 2 a.m. Still, Stewart was not going to let anything and not even jet lap or a lack of sleep keep her from putting her best foot forward during the first day of the U.S. national team training camp.

"What drives me when I get tired is looking at the players I am playing with and playing against, this opportunity, nobody else in college has this opportunity and I want to make sure I take advantage of it," Stewart said.

As Stewart mentioned, she is the only active collegiate player among the 16 players taking part in the three-day national team camp being held at UConn. She found herself matched up against Nneka Ogwumike, Tamika Catchings and Brittney Griner, among others, during the morning practice.

While there was a time when her inexperience resulted in Stewart being a little indecisive, that was not the case this time.

"Obviously she wasn't physically ready for all of this (a couple years ago)," UConn and U.S. head coach Geno Auriemma said. "After being around them for a long time and having traveled to Europe she hadn't done that. If you were to bring anybody out here today and say 'pick out the college player' nobody would be able to do that. She is right at home with that group. She blends in, she stands out in certain areas and in other areas the experience part is going to be an issue. Every day that she is with them, she gets better and better."

Stewart doesn't know if she will be among the 12 players picked to represent the U.S. in the quest for Olympic gold but she does think she has earned her spot in the national team player pool.

"I think I am at a point right now where I don't even think of myself as the lone college player, the youngster and that kind of stuff because as you continue to play with them, you get more and more comfortable so now it is just playing basketball," Stewart said.

"You can look at anybody on the court I am playing with offensively or that I am playing against, there is never going to be a team with this many great players on it, you will get better with the ball in your hands, without the ball and defensively."

Stewart's UConn's teammates were among those in attendance at the camp.

"I was thinking about it earlier this morning, 'wow, we are national team (camp) here at Storrs,'" Stewart said.

"Our entire team, we are excited about it. We have a group message going and right away, it is like 'who is coming to practice.' They will be here tomorrow and the next day because when the best women's basketball players come to town, they want to see them."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breanna Stewart deserves to be on the USA Team for 2016 Olympics. At some point, naming players to the team as career awards should stop. USA teams across several sports are "loyal to a fault". USA Womens' Soccer being the worst ever, naming aged slow veterans to the 2015 World Cup to honor their past.

7:27 AM 

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