Breanna Stewart adds WNBA title hunt to busy summer checklist | MCUTimes

Breanna Stewart adds WNBA title hunt to busy summer checklist

Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart got engaged in May, but there has not been much time for wedding preparation.

“To be honest, it really is not on my radar right now, just with everything else going on,” she said. “I think we’ll start planning maybe when the WNBA season is over. But we actually have no idea what date it will be at all.”

Welcome to Stewart’s charming but full of life. As she turns 27 this month, Stewart is in her competitive prosperity and wants to make the most of every minute. Which is how much of her life basketball takes.

Stewart was the EuroLeague Final Four MVP for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia in April. The WNBA season started in May, a few weeks after Stewart proposed his basketball player Marta Xargay Casademont. The Tokyo Games ended on Sunday with Stewart winning his second Olympic gold medal. The WNBA season resumes Thursday with the inaugural Commissioner Cup championship game (21:00 ET, Amazon Prime) in Phoenix, where the Storm meets the Connecticut Sun.

On Sunday, Seattle joins the rest of the WNBA in its restart and plays in Chicago (16:00 ET, ABC). Should Storm, who have the league’s best record of 16-5, run to defend their WNBA title, it would take them into mid-October. Then Stewart goes abroad to Russia, back to the WNBA next season, to the FIBA ​​World Cup in women’s basketball in 2022 in Australia, back to Russia …

“It does not give us many opportunities and time for a wedding,” Stewart said. “But at the same time, we want it to be exactly what we want. So I think it’s better to start preparing for it now.”

Put it on the to-do list. Stewart was the WNBA’s MVP and league champion in 2018. She missed the next WNBA season after tearing her Achilles’ playing abroad in April 2019. But she was back in business last season in the WNBA bubble and won another title and WNBA Finals MVP Award.

It has been more the same in 2021, with Stewart averaging 20.6 points and 9.6 rebounds for Seattle. She led Team USA in minutes played (32.0) and rebounds (10.0) in six games at the Olympics and averaged 15.0 points. Las Vegas frontman A’ja Wilson, last season’s WNBA MVP, and Phoenix center Brittney Griner led the Americans to score 16.5 PPG each, and the fearsome frontline trio was unstoppable for the rest of the world. Now they’re trying to stop each other in the WNBA.

“We saw Stewie play lots of minutes,” Seattle coach Noelle Quinn said of Stewart’s workload in Japan. “And understanding that is going to be important in terms of how we approach these next battles.”

Still, Stewart also expects to be a lot on the field for the Storm, even with a little jet lag. The Commissioner Cup final does not count towards the position, but winning means $ 30,000 extra per. Player – a significant sum in the WNBA, especially for those on rookie contracts.

But it is also the start of another long road trip after a few weeks in Japan. After Thursday’s game in Phoenix, Storm takes on a road trip with five games and will not return to Seattle until August 25th.

Stewart said it has helped her play with veteran Sue Bird, who passed on high-level knowledge about staying fit, eating right and taking care of herself. With the physical demands of playing year-round, Stewart has needed it, and Bird said Stewart is ahead of the game and has committed to the right habits early in his career.

Stewart said she just expects to have a lot on her shoulders all the time. She went through a small learning curve during her freshman season at UConn, adjusting in time to dominate the 2013 NCAA Tournament and win the first of her four women’s Final Four most outstanding player awards.

“It’s something I’m definitely found out over the years,” Stewart said. “I have to do what’s expected of me every night and it’s just the pressure to be the player I am. But that’s also what I embrace: being in a position where I’m capable. to influence the game in a series That’s why I play basketball.

“I found out a lot after my first year at UConn about how far I could go mentally and physically. I realized how I had to have the mindset to go into every game and try to dominate.”

Due to COVID-19 protocols, athletes at the Tokyo Olympics were not allowed to participate in other sports, something Stewart did a lot at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. In Japan, she watched all kinds of events on television and was inspired by performances like Sydney McLaughlin’s world record in the 400-meter hurdles in athletics.

“Being an athlete in the basketball world,” she said, “and then trying to imagine yourself on the court or jumping off a diving board doing lots of flips … that’s why we’ve trained our whole lives to be the best at what we do. “

As for anything involving flips, Stewart said, “No way,” but there’s another Olympic sport she would not mind trying. If she ever had a free minute.

“Beach volleyball,” Stewart said at 6 feet. “I think I could be ok with that.”

Actually, though, she’s hoping for a few more Olympic trips in basketball. Could she perhaps imagine matching the five Olympic appearances that Bird, 40, and Diana Taurasi, 39, have just achieved? That would mean summer games 2024, 2028 and 2032 for Stewart, who would be 37, on the verge of turning 38, in the summer of 2032.

“Yeah, I want to do it,” Stewart said, then added with a laugh, “I would be younger than Sue and Dee are now. Hopefully, if all goes well, I can get a shot at it.”

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