Welcome to the UConn WBB Weekly, a recap of everything that happened in the world of UConn women’s basketball over the past week.
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From the UConn WBB Weekly:
- Recruiting: UConn offer/interest tracker
- Film Room: How Olivia Nelson-Ododa thrives as a point forward
From The UConn Blog:
- WNBA Photo Gallery - Minnesota Lynx @ Connecticut Sun - 8/17/21
- Azzi Fudd and Amari DeBerry win gold in FIBA U19 World Cup
- Instigators, the dangerous one and ‘a little sneaky sneak’: Evina Westbrook on the many personalities of UConn women’s basketball
Last week’s Weekly:
- Spelling bee champ Zaila Avant-garde finally gets to meet her basketball idol, UConn alum and Dallas Wings guard Moriah Jefferson (Courant)
- Breanna Stewart’s Golden Journey to Motherhood (New York Times)
The Summer of Stewie
Breanna Stewart has been having a really great summer.
It started back in May, when Stewart proposed to her girlfriend and former teammate Marta Xargay at Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona. Stewart and Xargay first met in Russia, where the two played on a Russian Euroleague team. For someone with four NCAA titles, two WNBA titles, and multiple European championships, Stewart is no stranger to rings, but this one was a little more important.
Following her engagement, Stewart kicked off her fifth WNBA season later in May, helping the Seattle Storm to a 15-6 record, good for first place in the Western Conference, prior to the league’s Olympic break.
In late July, Stewart joined fellow UConn legends Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Napheesa Collier, and Tina Charles in Tokyo to help lead Team USA to a seventh consecutive gold medal. As she seems to almost always do, Stewart rose to the occasion, playing an integral part in Team USA’s dominant performance, clinching the gold with a 14-point, 14-rebound, and 5-assist showing against Japan.
Stewart was named to the All-Star Five and earned MVP honors for her performance in Tokyo, where she averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. The gold in Tokyo was already the second of Stewart’s young career after capturing gold in Rio in 2016 as the only amateur player on Team USA.
After another gold medal, Stewart wasted no time adding more hardware to her trophy case. Barely five days later, she returned to WNBA action and helped the Storm win the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup — a matchup between the top Eastern and Western Conference team through the first half of the season. Stewart earned MVP honors for her 17-point performance — and cashed in on an extra $5,000 on top of her $30,000 Commissioner’s Cup victory payout.
Stewart’s amazing summer continued with an addition to her family. On Monday, August 16, Stewart announced that she and Xargay married prior to heading to Tokyo and welcomed a daughter, Ruby Mae Stewart Xargay, via surrogate on August 9 — less than 24 hours after Stewart won her second career gold medal.
To celebrate the news, Stewart shared that she worked with TOGETHXR, a group founded by Bird and other top female athletes earlier this year, to create an exclusive documentary introducing Ruby to the world.
The documentary chronicles Stewart and Xargay’s journey through the process, including Stewart freezing her eggs in 2019 shortly after her Achilles injury. The decision to use a surrogate allowed Stewart and Xargay to continue their athletic careers.
“I’ve always known I wanted to have a family, always wanted to be a younger mom,” Stewart told the New York Times. “It will not be easy, but why can’t I be the best player, a mom and have a child in the way we have done?”
In addition to getting married and having a child, Stewart also uses her platform to advocate for her communities and important issues facing society such as gender equality.
After taking a few games off to recover and spend some time with Ruby, Stewart will be looking to lead the Storm through the home stretch of the season in their bid to repeat as WNBA champions. It would be her third WNBA championship and she may find her way to another MVP award as well.
Best of social media
Breanna Stewart makes everything look easy.
Breanna Stewart dealing with the Tokyo-Phoenix time change better than I deal with Daylight Saving Time.— Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) August 13, 2021
Evina Westbrook popped into the Portland Pro-Am in her home state of Oregon and showed out.
Spelling and dribbling extraordinaire Zaila Avant-garde got to meet Moriah Jefferson and taught the former UConn great some new tricks.
Kia Nurse announced her player exclusive version of the Air Jordan 36 is available online via the Nike App in Canada.
Sooo this is happening… my @Jumpman23 Air Jordan 36 Global Game PEs are available NOW on the Nike App in Canada‼️ Reppin’ the North these were created for the Tokyo Olympics..can’t wait to see you all rocking them! Grab yours here: https://t.co/rM5w0LAnds pic.twitter.com/9tvxhvz0LY— Kia Nurse (@KayNurse11) August 18, 2021
Great pic of Azzi Fudd and Amari DeBerry showing off their new hardware.