Breanna Stewart: Whirlwind week wraps up wonder summer for basketball star 

FIBA’s women’s basketball MVP at the Tokyo Olympics Breanna Stewart is on a career-high roll and showing no signs of relenting.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Has anyone recently checked women’s basketball star Breanna Stewart’s resumé?

Because it has just grown ten-fold.

Fresh from winning her second Olympic gold medal, and Team USA’s seventh consecutive title, the 26-year-old power forward added ‘parent’ to her already comprehensive list of titles.

The very next day after winning in Tokyo Stewart whipped across the world to be alongside wife Marta Xargay as they welcomed their new baby daughter Ruby Mae Stewart Xargay.

If you thought, for just a second, that was all quietly remarkable Stewart stretched the imagination one step further when she appeared on court for the Seattle Storm in the inaugural WNBA Commissioner’s Cup on August 13.

Not only did the Storm walk away with the trophy but Stewart also picked up MVP for her efforts in the game.

What jet lag?

All that remains now on Stewart’s checklist for 2021 is the WNBA title.

Breanna Stewart basketball
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Breanna Stewart: rebounding from career threatening injury

In April 2019, Stewart’s basketball dreams shattered with a snap.

It was her Achilles tendon.

Rising for a jumper in the EuroLeague final, the power forward landed awkwardly on fellow Team USA teammate Brittney Griner and collapsed into a pile on the floor; it was all over.

The injury ended Stewart’s 2019 season and to such an extent, it raised questions about her ability to recover.

It took a total of 15 months for the Storm player to get back on the floor with many asking if the bright basketball spark could return to her formidable former ways.

She quickly silenced those doubts.

Rebounding faster than many of her own court, Stewart defied the odds and expectations to get back to court and help the Storm win the WNBA 2020 season.

In the process, Stewart set a WNBA record by scoring more than 20 points for the sixth straight finals game that ultimately saw her unanimously awarded finals MVP.

The new stars leading Team USA basketball

For her remarkable comeback the basketball star was rewarded with selection for the United States Olympic team, and at Tokyo 2020, in 2021 she responded by showing the full force of her talent.

Across six games Stewart averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and 4.7 assists to become FIBA's women's basketball MVP for the Games.

In the final against Japan Stewart rallied hard for her country putting up 14 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and five steals.

Griner was the only player to go beyond Stewart’s tally sending a remarkable 30 points past the hosts, and in doing so set a Team USA record for an Olympic final.

While the old guard of Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi bowed out of the Olympic arena after a record-breaking five basketball golds, it is safe to say future U.S. Olympic campaigns are now in the safe hands of a new dynamic duo: Stewart and Griner.

Breanna Stewart: From Olympic medallist to mother

Olympic gold-medal match done.

But there was little time for Stewart to celebrate.

Just 24 hours after winning in Tokyo, Stewart was placing her gold medal around her new baby daughter’s neck.

Even with Ruby Mae in her arms the basketball star still had her mind on Olympic glory after she suggested to wife Xargay that her middle name be “Tokyo.” It was quickly vetoed by Xargay.

Following Stewart’s Achilles tear back in the Spring of 2019, the power forward decided to think of the future and her desire for a family.

The Seattle Storm player underwent a procedure to freeze her eggs knowing that there would not be the time to do the procedure while she was playing and competing.

It was a call that enabled her to plan for Ruby Mae in 2021.

Speaking in a documentary produced by Bleacher Report and TOGETHXR Stewart explained the complexity of having children as an elite athlete:

“As a women’s basketball player, it’s like, ‘OK, how do you do that? How do you plan that perfectly so that the baby comes during the summer?’”

“Why can’t I be the best player and have a baby?” Stewart asked, raising an important question that many women in elite sports must negotiate. “Why can’t we do both?”

“Becoming a mom is bigger than anything else that I’ve done and I look forward to every beautiful and challenging moment as a family of three.”

Commissioner’s Cup victory, done. Next up: WNBA 2021 title?

Achieving the illogical is something of a brand for Stewart.

“It’s kind of normal. It’s crazy, but it’s normal. It’s Stewie.”

Jewell Loyd, Stewart’s teammate both at Seattle Storm and at the 2020 Games, shared with ESPN after their side squashed the Connecticut Sun 79-57 to clinch the WNBA’s inaugural Commissioner’s Cup.

From the very first second of the game Stewart, whose daughter had been born four days prior, set the tone for the encounter.

In an MVP performance, the power forward put up 15 points in the first quarter alone, showing no signs of any wear or tear from the activities of the previous five days.

She shot three-for-three from three to put the Storm so far ahead that in total, Stewart only needed 18 minutes of court time to do her bit to ensure her team’s victory.

Looking forwards, all that’s left now to round off Stewart’s exceptional 2021 is the WNBA championship, which Storm are currently defending.

The way the table currently sits, Storm are second in the Western Conference behind rivals Las Vegas Aces.

In the overall standings they are in third and are currently on losing streak of two games, both which were played without Stewart and Bird, who are on a break after their recent victory campaigns.

As the final crucial stretch appears on the horizon, both stars are expected to enter back into the fold and firmly on their minds will be going back-to-back for the WNBA championship.

With Stewart so clearly in her prime and thriving under the relentless nature of her schedule her rivals would do well to watch out.


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