March 5, 2014
STORRS, Conn. – In weekly awards announced Wednesday by the American Athletic Conference, sophomore standout Breanna Stewart (Syracuse, N.Y.) has been selected as player of the week for the fourth time this season. Stewart combined for 65 points (21.6 per game) in a 3-0 stretch for the Huskies that included conference wins over SMU, No. 24 Rutgers and No. 3 Louisville.
Stewart shot 46.7 percent in that three-game span to help top-ranked UConn close out the regular season undefeated and win the inaugural American Athletic Conference regular season championship. The Syracuse, N.Y. native logged 38 minutes against No. 3 Louisville Monday night in a decisive regular season finale to determine top seeding heading into the American tournament. Stewart finished with 22 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to lead UConn to its tenth victory over a ranked opponent this season. The sophomore also showcased her defensive abilities with four blocks against the Cardinals. Stewart’s 86 rejections are a team-best and rank second in the conference, helping UConn amass 261 blocks on the season to set a program record.
The league’s preseason player of the year and an AP Preseason All-American, Stewart averages 19.5 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per contest this season for the Huskies. She has hit double-digits in 28 games including a stretch of 22 consecutive games scoring double-figures dating back to Dec. 1. Moreover, the sophomore has netted 20 points or more in 16 games this season. In UConn’s last seven games the 6-4 forward has averaged 20.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks.
Breanna Stewart and fellow New York natives Stefanie Dolson (Port Jervis, N.Y.) and Bria Hartley (North Babylon, N.Y.) were named national semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, awarded annually to the top player in women’s college basketball. The trio also appeared on the Wade and Wooden Award watch lists. In January, Stewart was selected as the 2013 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year for the second time in three years. After earning her first player of the week nod from the American on Dec. 23, the USBWA selected the sophomore as the Ann Meyers Drysdale Women’s National Player of the Week on Dec. 24.
No. 1 Connecticut embarks on its quest to win the first-ever American Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Huskies, who earned top seeding after posting an unblemished 18-0 conference record, will face the winner of a Friday play-in between UCF and Cincinnati. Tip time for the quarterfinal matchup is set for 2:00pm on Saturday, March 8 in Uncasville, Conn.