Recent UConn graduate Breanna Stewart won two honors at the 2016 ESPY Awards on Wednesday night in Los Angeles. Stewart was chosen as Best Female Athlete and Best Female College Athlete.
“I’d like to thank my fans, my family, UConn, my coaches and all my teammates,” Stewart said when accepting the award for Best Female Athlete. Stewart, who is currently excelling as a rookie for the Seattle Storm, beat out fellow WNBA star Elena Della Donne, swimmer Katie Ledecky and gymnast Simone Biles for the honor.
Stewart will add the two awards to a packed trophy case that also includes four national championships as a member of the UConn women’s basketball team. She capped an incredible UConn career earlier this year with her fourth title, in addition to being named AP Player of the Year for the third time.
During her acceptance speech, Stewart used her platform to call for equality in women’s sports.
“During my time in college, I received much media attention. I am grateful for that. But now that I am in the WNBA, playing with other amazing female athletes, I'm trying to understand why we, as professional female athletes, don't receive anywhere near the fame. This has to change,” Stewart said. "Equality for all takes each of us making an effort. Together let's be better."
The women’s basketball team and its coach was nominated for a couple more awards on Wednesday night, but only Stewart went home victorious. The undefeated Huskies lost Best Team to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who defeated the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals. UConn coach Geno Auriemma, nominated for Best Coach/Manager, lost to Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue.
Auriemma also found himself nominated for Best Record-Breaking Performance, for winning his 11th national championship as a head coach, but lost to NBA sharpshooter Stephen Curry.
Former UConn basketball star Maya Moore won Best WNBA Player, beating out fellow Husky Tina Charles and three other nominees. Moore helped lead the Minnesota Lynx to a championship last year, her third as a professional player.
Tyler Keating is associate sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.