INDIANAPOLIS - University of Connecticut women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma has been named Associated Press National Coach of the Year, while senior forward Breanna Stewart (North Syracuse, N.Y.) was honored as the AP National Player of the Year for the third-straight season, as announced on Saturday.
Auriemma and Stewart have led the Huskies to a 36-0 overall record on their way to a third-straight American Athletic Conference Regular Season title and Tournament Championship. Connecticut is 149-5 since Stewart joined the team in 2012-13 and have advanced to the Final Four in all four seasons and won three national championships.
Over the course of 31 seasons at Connecticut, Auriemma was named Coach of the Year in the former Big East a total of 10 times and garnered National Coach of the Year recognition eight times. Auriemma has led the Huskies to a record 10 national championships and owns the record for consecutive Final Four appearances with nine. In total, he has overseen 17 Husky trips to the Final Four.
The WBCA Division I National Coach of the Year, Auriemma nabbed his third-straight and 13th overall conference Coach of the Year honor after leading his squad to a perfect 18-0 record in conference play for the third consecutive season, besting league opposition by an average of 45.6 points per game. During his time at the helm, Auriemma has accumulated a 953-134 record (.876), which is the best winning percentage in the history of the sport. The Husky head coach continues close in on the record for career NCAA Tournament victories with 107 wins, only five away from tying former Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt (112).
Stewart joins former Husky great Maya Moore as the only players to be named AP Player of the Year on multiple occasions. Stewart is the only player to ever be tabbed for the honor three times and to win it by unanimous vote.
In total, the UConn program boasts 11 AP Player of the Year awards by eight different players.
A USBWA, WBCA and AP All-American, Stewart is UConn’s all-time blocks leader with 411 career rejections and ranks second on the all-time scoring list with 2,636 points. Stewart made NCAA history on Dec. 9 as the only player to reach 300 career blocks and 300 career assists. She is also the seventh NCAA Division I women’s player with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 assists, 200 steals and 200 blocks. She is also the only player to be named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player three times.
When Stewart was selected as an AP All-America First Team member, she joined an elite club as only one of six players in NCAA women’s basketball history to receive AP First Team honors three times.
Last week, Stewart was tabbed as the NCAA Bridgeport Regional Most Outstanding Player. Through four games in the NCAA Tournament, the North Syracuse, N.Y. native is averaging 20.5 points and 12.0 rebounds to go along with shooting 59.0 percent from the field. This season, the senior forward is putting up a team-best 19.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Through 36 games, Stewart has posted 19 20-plus point performances and 15 double-doubles.
Earlier on Saturday, Stewart was selected as the 2016 Wade Trophy recipient, making it the second-straight year she has won the award. She was also honored with the Senior CLASS Award for women’s basketball, becoming the fourth Husky in program history to win it.
The Huskies are set to make their ninth-straight appearance in the NCAA Final Four when they take on Oregon State on Sunday, April 3 at 6 p.m. on ESPN.