The UConn Legend Breanna Stewart Adjusts to Life in the W.N.B.A.


The former UConn star and four-time N.C.A.A. champion Breanna Stewart playing for the Seattle Storm against the Sun last month in Connecticut.

Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Breanna Stewart sat in the visitors’ locker room at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night in an unfamiliar position.

Stewart had just put on a dynamic exhibition, scoring 24 points with 16 rebounds and playing all five positions, but her Seattle Storm had still lost, 78-74, to the Liberty. Over all, the Storm, who also lost on Tuesday, have dropped three straight and were 6-12 heading into Friday’s game.

Over the last four years, Stewart had experienced a total of five losses when wearing the blue and white jersey of the University of Connecticut. Her senior class was the first to win four national titles, and Stewart was named the most outstanding player in the Final Four each time.

As Stewart has quickly discovered, there is a difference between stardom in college and life in the W.N.B.A. Losing is frustrating but not quite unexpected, she said. She is, however, still acclimating to the demands of being the top overall pick in the league’s draft last April. Entering the W.N.B.A. with a pedigree as one of college basketball’s greatest players, Stewart also carries expectations that she will be a pillar on which the Storm can build for the next decade.

“It’s funny, I think that sometimes I forget that I’m a rookie,” she said. “I forget this is my first two months in the league, just because of the expectations I have on myself, along with other things surrounding that.”

Despite being matched against players more accomplished than the ones she usually faced in college, Stewart remains a marvel. Against Tina Charles and the Liberty, the W.N.B.A.’s top defensive team last year, Stewart was still able to…

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