When Breanna Stewart came to UConn as a freshman, expectations were already high. She was the top recruit in the country, headed to one of the nation’s top programs.
But with one comment before her first season, Stewart sent those already-high expectations through the roof. She boldly declared her desire to win four national championships with incoming star recruits Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck.
Who did this tall, gangly-looking freshman think she was? After all, the Huskies had been in a bit of a rut by their standards, falling to Notre Dame in back-to-back years, both in heartbreaking fashion.
But incredibly, Stewart and the Huskies accomplished the feat, winning four titles in four years, a NCAA record. Looking back, she admits that she may have been a bit naive when she said that.
“When I said it as a freshman and I said it, I really wanted it to happen,” Stewart said. “But it was hard.”
But which was the toughest? The first one that started it all? Number 4, with all the ultimate pressure to do what had never been done? As a matter of fact, it was neither.
“Yeah, the first one was hard. And you want to finish it off with your fourth," said Stewart. “But the third one was the hardest one.”
Now that Stewart turned what was just a freshman's dream into a reality, shooting for four-in-four has become a trend for young players.
"I think a lot of people are trying to speak it into existence,” she said. “Now everybody wants to win four."
However, big talk only gets you so far.
“It’s more than just talking about it,” Stewart said. “You have to go out there and do it.”
When you put it like that, it seems pretty easy. And a lot of the time, Stewart’s teams made winning look easy.
But as all but one team in history can attest, especially UConn’s 2001 and 2017 teams, falling just short is a lot easier to do.