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UConn's Stewart named AP Player of the Year

Updated 9:48 pm, Saturday, April 5, 2014
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Breanna Stewart was not content with the up-and-down flow of her play for much of last season. That easily made consistency one of the primary goals this season.

Stewart has accomplished her goal. She became only the third sophomore to be named the national Player of the Year by The Associated Press Saturday.

"It's obviously a huge deal and I think the fact that being able to be named Player of the Year is awesome and I think it just shows how hard I've worked this season and the off-season," Stewart said. "But it doesn't compare to what could happen this weekend. I think this is nice, but it's a team game and I want to win a national championship.''

Stewart joins former Oklahoma All-American Courtney Paris (2007) and Maya Moore (2009) as the only sophomores to win the award.

Stewart is also the eighth UConn player to be honored by The Associated Press. Rebecca Lobo (1995), Jennifer Rizzotti (1996), Kara Wolters (1997), Sue Bird (2002), Diana Taurasi (2003), Moore and Tina Charles (2009) are the others.

"I really wasn't expecting that,'' said Brian Stewart, Stewart's father. "It's pretty amazing. There are several other players that are playing pretty good. I'm just really grateful for her, but the big one is on Tuesday hopefully.''

Stewart's entire family was on hand for the ceremony. So was the entire UConn team.

The race for the award was not close. Stewart received 20 votes. Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford had eight, followed by Odyssey Sims of Baylor (six) and Kayla McBride of Notre Dame (two).

Stewart, who has earned a spot in the Huskies of Honor, was named a first team All-American by The Associated Press Tuesday. She is averaging career-highs of 19.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.8 blocks and 1.6 steals and has joined Lobo as the only players in team history to record 100 assists (116) and 100 blocks (106) in the same season.

"Whenever you see progress or you see something like this you know you're making progress and it just kind of lights a fire underneath you to just keep working harder, keep getting better,'' Stewart said.

relliott@ctpost.com; @elliottctpost; blog.ctnews.com/elliott/