Hardly coming as a surprise, Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart was named the 2016 WNBA Rookie of the Year on Thursday.
Stewart has shown no signs of being intimidated by moving to the professional level as she has averaged 18.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals per game in her inaugural WNBA campaign. She was the league’s sixth-leading scorer, second-leading rebounder and blocked the third-most shots. She also ranked first in all of those categories among rookies.
Stewart played in all 34 games and finished tied for the league lead in minutes, averaging 34.7 per contest. Unsurprisingly, she swept the league’s Rookie of the Month Awards as well.
The Storm selected Stewart with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s WNBA Draft after a dominant and decorated career at the University of Connecticut. During her four years with the Huskies, Stewart was named Consensus National Player of the Year and Naismith Player of the Year three times each and won four NCAA titles. Her college teammates, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, were drafted No. 2 and 3 overall, respectively, making the trio the first from one school to be selected with each of the first three picks in WNBA Draft history. Stewart took 38 of the 39 votes for the award, with Jefferson being the only other player to receive a vote.
She has also notably won gold medals with Team U.S.A. at the 2014 Basketball World Championships in Turkey and at the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.
Despite finishing 16-18 during the regular season, Stewart was able to help the Storm into the postseason for the first time since 2013. They were beaten in the first-round by the Atlanta Dream, 94-85. Seattle went just 10-24 last season.
The 2016 WNBA All-Rookie Team was also announced on Thursday, with Stewart of course leading the way:
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 29, 2016
Stewart is joined on the team by San Antonio’s Moriah Jefferson, Indiana’s Tiffany Mitchell, Dallas’ Aerial Powers and Chicago’s Imani Boyette.