HARTFORD— Senior forward Breanna Stewart has already put together an impressive case to be considered one of the greatest players in the history of UConn women’s basketball. On Monday night, Stewart added another feat to her impressive resume by scoring her 2,000th career point in UConn’s 97-57 win over Kansas State.
“You definitely take pride in it,” Stewart said of her accomplishment. “You don’t think about it as much now, but after my career is done, that kind of thing, just to know the kind of impact you had individually but also as part of a team.”
With her corner three-pointer in front of the UConn bench in the third quarter, Stewart became the ninth player in UConn women’s basketball to reach 2,000 career points and the first to do so since Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis accomplished the feat last season. She is the third-fastest player to reach 2,000 points, doing so in just 117 games. Only Maya Moore (108 games) and Kerry Bascom (113) did so faster.
After only scoring eight points in the first half due to foul trouble, Stewart erupted for 11 points in the third quarter and tacked on six in the fourth to finish the night leading all scorers with 25.
Stewart first passed Renee Montgomery with a layup 3:30 into the first quarter with her 1,992nd career point. The North Syracuse, New York native would pass former teammate Bria Hartley with 8:47 left in the third quarter on another layup before reaching the 2,000-point mark.
Stewart would finish the night with 2,009 career points and sole possession of ninth place on the all-time scoring list.
“To be in the same company as those great players, that’s the biggest honor,” Stewart said.
As usual, Stewart used her versatility to her advantage against the Wildcats (3-1) to lead the Huskies (2-0) to their second win of the season. Seven of Stewart’s 25 points, including her first four, came from the free throw line. Six came from two three-pointers in four attempts. The rest came from the senior’s wide array of post moves, working in the paint against Kansas State’s 6-foot-5-inch center, Breanna Lewis.
“You score 2,000 points when you average 15 shots a game, that’s pretty good,” head coach Geno Auriemma said of Stewart. “And yet, the thing that I like about her the most is the intangibles in addition to the points…She’s always been a little bit of a rebounder. She’s always been a good passer. She’s always wanted to block shots… It’s hard to get more stuff into a stat sheet than she gets.”
Stewart put those intangibles on display against the Wildcats.
On top of leading all scorers, Stewart finished with eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals in 31 minutes.
“It’s definitely a nice little stat line. I should be having a double-double basically,” Stewart said. “If I can maintain the assists, keep them high and that kind of thing. Just all around game. That’s what you want to see as a player individually and even for your other teammates.”
Just two games into her senior season, Stewart has plenty of time to finish writing her legacy. However, what she has already accomplished is impressive within itself.
Stewart is the only player in program history to be named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player three times. She has won the Associated Press National Player of the Year award twice and has been a first-team All-American each of the last two seasons, just to name a few.
She has lost just five games in her four seasons in Storrs, and has a chance to be a part of the first senior class in college basketball to win four-straight national championships.
Despite all of her success and accolades, Stewart has her mind set on improving and cementing her legacy as one of greatest in program history next to Moore and Diana Taurasi while hoping to lead her team to another title.
“She asks a lot of questions, which never used to happen, because she’s seeing thing and she’s trying to get better everyday. There’s not a day that goes where she’s not trying to figure out a way to get better,” Auriemma said of Stewart. “She’s playing really really well right now…She just has the wherewithal to do things when you need them done, and that’s kind of the same as Maya did, [Diana Taurasi] did and all the great ones.”