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Breanna Stewart
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Seattle Storm’s MVP Breanna Stewart hopes to add WNBA title to her UConn triumphs

Breanna Stewart was named WNBA MVP on Sunday. (Photo by Matt Pittman, MyNorthwest)

It’s safe to say that Breanna Stewart had a pretty good weekend. After being awarded the WNBA’s MVP in a pregame ceremony Sunday, she helped her Seattle Storm defeat the Phoenix Mercury 91-87 in a thrilling Game 1 of the semifinals.

Seattle Storm hang on to beat Mercury 91-87 in Game 1 of WNBA semis

“It was just an amazing honor,” Stewart told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk on Monday morning. “And to top everything off with the win, it just made it a great day through and through. To win MVP just shows all the hard work I put in this offseason, and all the work that we’ve done together as a team.”

The award capped Stewart’s finest season to date, in which she posted an average of 21.8 points and 8.4 rebounds as Seattle went 26-8 in the regular season. It was certainly reflected in the MVP votes – Stewart finished far ahead of the pack with 372 points, followed by Dallas’ Liz Cambage at 231 points.

While Stewart landed Rookie of the Year in 2016, she first allowed herself in high school to believe that she might make it this far.

“Early in my high school career when I was getting a bunch of college looks, and then soon after when I committed to UConn, I was like, ‘You know what? I can do this,'” she said. “‘I might play in the WNBA.’ Things that might happen did happen.”

Stewart molded by her time at UConn

Stewart attributes much of her success to her time spent at UConn, where the nationally-renowned program helped elevate her game to new levels.

“Coach (Geno) Auriemma and the staff at UConn – they helped me out a lot. They pushed me to heights that I never thought I’d get to,” Stewart said. “Anyone who’s played under coach Auriemma knows that they humble you really quick. They let you know, ‘You know what? You’re not that good. We’re going to show you. And then we’re going to show you how to be great.'”

That greatness pushed Stewart and the Huskies to four national championships, and she was named the Final Four’s most outstanding player a record four times.

“Even now in the WNBA, I still get texts from them whether it’s advice or encouragement or just congratulations. It’s nice to have that family,” Stewart said of her old team at UConn.

Looking forward, Stewart is hoping bring the championship success of her stellar college career to the WNBA.

“Even in my first two years when we didn’t achieve exactly what we wanted to, the fans have been behind us all the way,” Stewart said.

“And now we’re in a solid position, and can’t wait to get out in front of (the crowd at KeyArena) again, get out in front our fans, and put on another show.”

You can hear the full segment with Stewart in this podcast of Monday’s Brock and Salk show.