Breanna Stewart dunks in the slam dunk contest during Jam Fest at the Gerald Ratner Athletic Center for the 35th McDonalds All American Game. (Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE)
Soon-to-be Connecticut freshman Breanna Stewart was selected as the country's top female prep athlete at the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year ceremony Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Stewart joins Tina Charles (2005-06) and Maya Moore (2006-07) as past incoming UConn women's basketball players who have received this prestigious award.
Stewart was among six female finalists, including Morgan Andrews (soccer), Jordan Burgess (volleyball), Geri Ann Glasco (softball), Molly Seidel (cross country) and Shelbi Vaughan (Track & Field). Burgess and Seidel will attend Stanford in the fall, Georgia will welcome Glasco and Vaughan will run for Texas A&M. Andrews, the women's soccer player of the year, is entering her senior year of high school.
Stewart's resume is extensive, both on and off the basketball court. She led her high school team to a second-straight New York State Public School AA Championship and a 23-3 record as a senior at Cicero-North Syracuse HS . The two-time Gatorade New York Girls Basketball Player of the Year averaged 26.4 points, 14.2 rebounds, 4.2 blocks, 3.2 assists and 3.1 steals per game en route to honors as the Naismith High School Girls Player of the Year and selection to both the McDonald's and WBCA All-American squads. She rounded out her high school career with an impressive 2,367 total points, 1,389 rebounds, 364 blocks, 337 assists and 325 steals.
Internationally, Stewart has started on the U-16, U-17 and U-19 women's national teams, was an all-tournament selection for her gold-medal winning effort at the 2011 World Championships and was honored as the 2011 USA Basketball Female Player of the Year. Stewart became just the second high school player to compete for Team USA in the 2011 Pan American Games. At the 2011 FIBA U-19 World Championship in Chile, she led Team USA with 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds a game and captured the gold medal.
Stewart is actively involved in her community as well. She volunteers for such organizations as the Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics, Salvation Army, March of Dimes and more, as well as coaching youth basketball at the YMCA. She maintained an A-minus average as a prep and received Cicero North's Outstanding Character Award.
Since 1995, Gatorade has recognized state and national players of the year in 12 sports, not only for their athletic achievements but also for their work in the classroom and demonstration of strong character. This year marks the 10th in which Gatorade has honored the top overall male and female among the 12 nominees. Winners are selected by a national panel of sports journalists.
Awards were presented by Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins (2006-07 Gatorade Texas Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year), seven-time NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning
(1987-88 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year), four-time gold-medal winner Lisa Leslie (1989-90 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year), and two-time Women's World Cup Champion Brandi Chastain.
Past winners of the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year include such notables as 2012 Olympic athletes Allyson Felix, Candace Parker, LeBron James
and Kevin Love