In news that should surprise absolutely no one, sophomore forward Breanna Stewart has been named American Athletic Conference player of the week.
STORRS, Conn. - Sophomore forward Breanna Stewart has been selected as the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week, as announced by the league on Monday, for her efforts in leading the top-ranked University of Connecticut women’s basketball team to a 2-0 week. Stewart earns the honor for the third time this season.
Stewart averaged 22.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the floor, including 6-10 from long-range, in wins over SMU and No. 4 Louisville.
The Preseason American Athletic Conference Player of Year started the week off with a 20-point, eight-rebound effort in the victory over the Mustangs on Tuesday. She was 8-14 from the field and buried both of her attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.
She followed that up with a 24-point, 10-rebound, six-assist effort in Sunday's victory over the Cardinals in Storrs. The Syracuse, N.Y. native was 9-20 from the floor and made four of her eight attempts from 3-point range. Stewart also blocked two shots and her six assists came against only two turnovers.
Stewart is leading the Huskies at 19.4 points per game and 66 blocks. She is second on the squad at 8.0 rebounds per contest. She the conference’s second-leading scorer and leads the league in three-point field goal percentage.
And this comes a week after Stewart scored a career-high 37 points in a win over Temple.
Following Sunday's win over Louisville, coach Geno Auriemma talked about Stewart's evolution as a player since her rookie season.
"Mentally, it is not even the same person that was playing last year at this time," he said after the game. "The biggest difference I've seen in Stewart is her ability to shake off a bad play and come out with a big play, when last year a bad play in her mind would frustrate her so much it would lead to two more bad ones. Right now her mindset is not as much one as a kid only in her second year in college, it is a little bit above that. That is why she can make big shots in big moments that other players can't make. There are still some things that she can improve at obviously as she is nowhere near where she wants to be."
Louisville coach Jeff Walz acknowledged that Stewart creates matchup nightmares for any team that has to face her. "She's a special player," he said. "I told our players there is no question that she is the best player in the country in my opinion. What she does is when you have breakdowns, she makes you pay for them. We had two back-to-back situations when we cut it down to a five point game in the first half that we allowed her to catch it at the free throw line, turn and shoot. We had told our kids to keep a hand in her face and make her drive it or shoot a contested pull up, because that's not her strength. We had our hands down then we got caught on a pin down because one of our kids fell down and she hits back-to-back 3's. It's just big time shots."