WNBA: Liberty forward Breanna Stewart named 2023 Most Valuable Player
In February, Stewart stunned the WNBA world by leaving the Seattle Storm to sign with the New York Liberty. The former first-overall pick left Seattle as one of the most legendary athletes to ever compete in the city’s history, leading the Storm to league championships in 2018 and 2020, while also taking home her first league MVP in 2018.
The former UConn star left Seattle to raise the standard for a Liberty franchise that has yet to hoist a league championship in their 26-year history. In her first season, Stewart led the Liberty to the number one seed in the Eastern Conference and was awarded the 2023 WNBA Most Valuable Player for the second time in her career.
In 2012, Stewart came to Storrs as the number one recruit in the country out of Cicero-North Syracuse High School (NY). The 6-foot-3 forward was the centerpiece of one of Geno Auriemma’s greatest recruiting classes, which included other five-star recruits like Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck.
As a freshman, she averaged 13.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game for the Huskies, while being named to the Big East all-freshman team and helping Connecticut win the National Championship in 2013. It was the beginning of one the greatest careers in NCAA basketball history, as Stewart went on to win four national championships and three National Player of the Year awards at Connecticut. In 152 career games played at UConn, the star forward finished her legendary collegiate career with 17.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.
In 2016, the Seattle Storm selected Stewart with the first pick in the WNBA Draft. The transition to the professional game was seamless for the ex-Husky as she averaged 18.3 points and 9.3 rebounds to win the league’s Rookie of the Year award. In 2017, Stewart was named to her first all-star team before taking over as the face of the league in 2018. The 2018 season saw her win the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player award, averaging 21.8 points, and 8.4 rebounds on 53% shooting from the field. In 2019 Stewart was sidelined with an Achilles injury before having a resurgent 2020 season, being named to another all-star team and leading the Storm to a WNBA Championship. During her six seasons in Seattle, she led the Storm to two league championships, won the 2018 league MVP and was named to four all-star teams before leaving for New York in the 2023 off-season.
NBA: Journeyman forward Rudy Gay signs one-year deal with Warriors, Tyrese Martin agrees to a camp deal with Minnesota Timberwolves.
After finding a role off the bench in Utah for the past few seasons, Gay will find a new role for the Golden State Warriors in his 18th season in the league. Gay has carved out a very solid career for himself since his first-round draft selection in 2006, suiting up for the Grizzlies, Spurs, Kings, Jazz and Raptors. Over the course of his lengthy career, Gay has averaged just over 15 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Martin, who is searching for steady playing time in his second season in the league. Martin is one of UConn’s most recent draft picks, being drafted 51st overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Draft and traded to the Atlanta Hawks on draft night. Martin did not see the floor much with the Hawks as a rookie but played very well on their G-League team, the College Park Skyhawks. The Minnesota Timberwolves will bring Martin in on a one-year deal to compete for one of the final roster spots for the 2023-2024 season.