NASHVILLE – Sophomore guard Breanna Stewart has been selected as the Associated Press National Player of the Year, as announced by the AP in a press conference at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Saturday. Stewart becomes the seventh different Husky to win the AP Player of the Year award and joins Maya Moore (2008-09) as the only UConn sophomore to be recognized.
A unanimous AP First Team All-American selection, Stewart leads the Huskies with 19.4 points per game and ranks second on the UConn roster in rebounding with 8.1 boards per contest. Her 738 points this season are fourth most in program history and represent the second highest total by a sophomore since Maya Moore netted 754 in 2009-10. Stewart not only delivers on the offensive end, but the 6-4 forward leads the squad with 106 blocks on the season, helping UConn set a new NCAA single-season team record for rejections with 313.
Among her numerous career achievements this season, Stewart registered the eighth-highest single-game point total by a Husky in program history when she dropped 37 on Temple in January. She has logged 11 double-doubles this season and scored more than 20 points in 20 games. Opponents have held Stewart below double digits in just two games this season. On Feb. 16, Stewart recorded UConn’s first basket against USF to join UConn’s 1,000 point club as the second-fastest Husky to reach the milestone behind Moore. She is just the fifth Husky to achieve the honor as a sophomore.
The American Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year, Stewart went on to lock up Most Outstanding Player in the American Tournament by averaging 21.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in UConn’s run to the inaugural championship. The Syracuse native was named a USBWA All-American earlier this week along with fellow New Yorkers Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley. Stewart is also a finalist for the Wade Trophy, the Wooden Award, and the Naismith Trophy. EspnW.com also chose Stewart as their Player of the Year recipient.
Entering Sunday’s National Semifinal matchup against Stanford, Stewart is averaging 17.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. She has hit a team-high 16 of 19 free throw attempts in that span.
All-Time AP National Players of the Year
1995 – Rebecca Lobo, UConn
1996 – Jennifer Rizzotti, UConn
1997 – Kara Wolters, UConn
1998 – Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
1999 – Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
2000 – Tamika Catchings, Tennessee
2001 – Ruth Riley, Notre Dame
2002 – Sue Bird, UConn
2003 – Diana Taurasi, UConn
2004 – Alana Beard, Duke
2005 – Seimone Augustus, LSU
2006 – Seimone Augustus, LSU
2007 – Candace Parker, Tennessee
2008 – Candace Parker, Tennessee
2009 – Maya Moore, UConn
2010 – Tina Charles, UConn
2011 – Maya Moore, UConn
2012 – Brittney Griner, Baylor
2013 – Brittney Griner, Baylor
2014 – Breanna Stewart, UConn
photo credit: john woike – hartford courant