ATLANTA (April 2, 2016) – For the second-consecutive season, Breanna Stewart of the University of Connecticut is the winner of the 2016 Wade Trophy, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced today. The prestigious award, regarded as "The Heisman of Women's Basketball," is presented annually to the NCAA Division I Player of the Year by the WBCA.
"On behalf of the WBCA, I am honored to present women’s basketball’s highest honor, the Wade Trophy, to Breanna Stewart," said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. " Breanna joins an elite group of student-athletes who have won the Wade Trophy multiple times. Breanna had an extraordinary season and with her efforts, the game of women’s basketball was elevated to an exciting new level. She has represented UConn with class on and off the court. Breanna is a special player who bettered her teammates, captivated fans, and with her skill and domination, she has influenced the next generation of student-athletes."
Stewart has helped the Huskies reach their ninth straight Final Four, entering the Final Four with a perfect 36-0 record. The 6-foot-4 forward also assisted the program in claiming the American Athletic Conference (AAC) regular season championship and the conference tournament title for the second straight year. UConn has not lost a conference game since joining the AAC. Through their undefeated run, Stewart has led the team averaging 19.3 points and 8.71 rebounds per game. She has posted a total of 123 blocked shots this season, which ranks fourth in the nation, while her 3.51 blocks per game also ranks fourth in the nation. Stewart posted 18 20-point games and 16 double-double performances this season.
The North Syracuse, New York, native was named the AAC Player of the Year for the third-straight season and the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Stewart became UConn’s all-time leader in rejections with 411 career blocks. The senior is the only player in NCAA history to reach 300 blocks and 300 assists, while checking in as the seventh NCAA Division I women’s player with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 assists, 200 steals and 200 blocks. Stewart is also the only player in history to be named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player three times.
The Wade Trophy, now in its 39th year, is named after the late, legendary three-time national champion Delta State University coach, Lily Margaret Wade. The award debuted in 1978 as the first-ever women's national player of the year award in college basketball.
The first recipient of the Wade Trophy was Carol Blazejowski of Montclair State in 1978. Other Wade Trophy/NCAA Division I Player of the Year recipients include many standouts such as Nancy Lieberman (1979 & 1980), Teresa Weatherspoon (1988), DeLisha Milton-Jones (1997), Candace Parker (2007), Ticha Penicheiro (1998), Sue Bird (2002), Diana Taurasi (2003), Seimone Augustus (2005 & 2006), Maya Moore (2009-2011) Brittney Griner (2012 & 2013).
About the WBCA:
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game in all of its aspects as a sport for women and girls. For more information about the WBCA, please visit wbca.org.