Winning basketball teams, as the saying goes, have had a way of following Breanna Stewart around. They've done so from her high school days at Cicero-North Syracuse High in New York, to the University of Connecticut, out to Seattle with the WNBA's Storm, and in between with USA Basketball.
The former Huskies' great added to her resume Wednesday night when she and the Storm finished off a three-game sweep of the Washington Mystics in the WNBA Finals with a 98-82 road victory.
The triumph made Stewart the 11th player to win NCAA and WNBA titles and Olympic and FIBA world championship gold medals. The 6-foot-4 forward won four national championships at UConn, Olympic gold in 2016, and world championship gold in 2014 -- all on teams coached by Geno Auriemma.
The WNBA crown came in the Storm's first season under veteran Dan Hughes.
"It's truly remarkable that Stewie has accomplished this latest feat only weeks after turning 24 years old," ESPN analyst and Class of 2017 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee Rebecca Lobo said. "She's such a special talent. She told us during the semifinals, 'I was built for these moments' and then proved it time and time again. We're all so lucky that we get to watch her greatness for the next 10-15 years."
Stewart had 30 points and eight rebounds Wednesday night and averaged 24.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in eight playoff games. The 2018 WNBA Most Valuable Player was also named the Finals MVP. She was the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Final Four in all four of her college years.
She'll take no time to rest on her laurels. She'll go for another gold with the United States senior national team at the FIBA World Cup Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.
"I have seen her with the national team this last Olympics," Team USA assistant coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. "I've seen her as a youngster, and I have seen her with the Storm, and she really is truly amazing. I am really happy for her."
Rizzotti, the former UConn star who teamed with Lobo to lead the Huskies to the 1995 national championship, coached Stewart with the 2011 national team that won gold at the FIBA U-19 world championships in Puerto Montt, Chile.
What Stewart has done the seven years since is no surprise to her.
"I could tell even back then that she was special," Rizzotti said. "I didn't coach her on the U-17 team in 2010 but I saw her. When I got her the next year with the U-19, even the amount of improvement in that one year was incredible. I knew she was that elite level player and more importantly that elite level competitor that wanted to be the best. She has yet to let any of us down."
Stewart joins fellow former Huskies Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, and Kara Wolters on that list of 11. The others are Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, Tamika Catchings, and Brittney Griner. At 24, Stewart is the second youngest to Moore, who was 23, to accomplish it.
Stewart was a unanimous choice to the all-WNBA first team, the league announced Wednesday, while fellow UConn graduate Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury extended her own record with a 10th first-team selection.
But what was most noteworthy, from a UConn perspective, was that Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream was also placed on the first team. Hayes, in her seventh season after graduating from UConn in 2012, was a second-round draft pick by the Dream.
Hayes averaged career highs of 17.2 points and 2.7 assists to lead Atlanta to the league's second-best record and a berth in the playoff semifinals where the Dream fell in five games to the Mystics.
In her MVP summer, Stewart ranked second in the league in scoring (21.8), third in rebounding (8.4), seventh in blocked shots (1.44), and eighth in steals (1.35) during the regular season.
Taurasi, the WNBA's all-time leading scorer, tied for third in the league at 20.7 points per game and was fourth in assists at 5.3 per game.
Rounding out the first team were Dallas Wings' center Liz Cambage and Mystics' forward Elena Delle Donne.
Moore averaged 18.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and a WNBA-leading 1.68 steals during an injury-plagued season for the Minnesota Lynx as she earned all-WNBA honors for the seventh consecutive season. Also named to the second team were Phoenix's Griner, Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks, Dallas' Skylar Diggins-Smith, and Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot.
SWISH AND WASH
Napheesa Collier started training camp with Team USA on Labor Day. Nine days later the UConn senior forward arrived in France as one of 16 finalists for the 12-player roster that will take part in the FIBA World Cup.
It's been a whirlwind for Collier, described well in a story on USA Basketball's website: "Imagine being invited to a training camp, thinking you only need to pack for a couple of days. But after three days, you're asked to stay another three days. And then another three. And then told you're going to need your passport, because you'll be around for almost another week at the very least."
Team USA will face Canada, France, and Senegal in a pre-World Cup event Saturday through Tuesday in Antibes, France.
"I packed really lightly," Collier said. "I need to wash things really often."