UConn's Breanna Stewart named 2016 Women's Naismith Trophy winner
INDIANAPOLIS – A day after leading the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team to its fourth-straight NCAA national championship game, senior forward Breanna Stewart (North Syracuse, N.Y.) was chosen as the winner of the 2016 Naismith Trophy and head coach Geno Auriemma was tabbed as the Naismith Coach of the Year, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Monday.
UConn has won more Women's Naismith Trophies than any other school -- now with a total of 10. Stewart, who won the award in 2014 and 2015, is the third Husky to win the award in multiple seasons, joining Maya Moore (2009, 2011) and Diana Taurasi (2003, 2004).
However, Stewart stands in a league of her own as the only athlete – male or female – in the award’s history to have won four total Naismith Trophies after winning three in college and one in high school.
Auriemma and Stewart have led the Huskies to a 37-0 overall record on their way to a third-straight American Athletic Conference Regular Season title and Tournament Championship. Connecticut is 150-5 since Stewart joined the team in 2012-13 and have advanced to the national championship game in all four seasons and won three national championships.
This is the fourth time Auriemma has been honored in the same season as one of his players and the seventh time he has received the award overall.
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 and Associated Press 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 955-134 record (.877), 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 108 wins, only four away from tying former Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt (112).
A USBWA, WBCA and AP All-American, Stewart is UConn’s all-time blocks leader with 412 career rejections and ranks second on the all-time scoring list with 2,652 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.
Stewart was selected as the Associated Press, USBWA, and WBCA National Player of the Year this week during the Huskies' trip to the Final Four.
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 19.6 points and 11.2 rebounds to go along with shooting 61.0 percent from the field. This season, the senior forward is putting up a team-best 19.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Through 37 games, Stewart has posted 19 20-plus point performances and 15 double-doubles.
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 will square off with Syracuse in the NCAA title game on Tuesday, April 5 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.