As one might expect from a No. 1-ranked team with an unblemished record, UConn nearly swept the American Athletic Conference’s Women’s Basketball major awards that were announced yesterday prior to the start of the first annual Conference Championship Tournament being held at the Mohegan Sun Arena. All-World sophomore forward Breanna Stewart—the odds-on favorite for national Player of the Year Award—was named The American's Player of the year, and Geno Auriemma was tabbed as Coach of the Year.
Stewart, the American's Preseason Player of the Year and AP Preseason All-American, averaged a team-leading 19.8 points per game in conference play to go along with 8.5 rebounds per contest. Stewie became just fifth sophomore in the illustrious history of UConn women's basketball to break the 1,000-point barrier. A unanimous first-team all-conference selection, the Syracuse, NY native led the Huskies to The American regular-season championship in the conference's inaugural voyage. In addition, she was named the 2013 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year and is a finalist for the Naismith, Wade and Wooden Awards. Senior guard Bria Hartley also received first-team All-Conference recognition.
Now in his 29th year of coaching, Auriemma, who coached the USA to a gold medal in the 1012 London Olympics, led the Huskies to a 31-0—their ninth consecutive 30-win season—and the No. 1 spot in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls.Under Auriemma's tutelage, UConn has won 37 conference championships and are currently on a 37-game win streak dating back to last season—the third longest winning streak in program history.
In addition, Stephanie Dolson was named The America's Defensive Player of the Year. Despite suffering two injuries late last season—she watched much of last year's Big East Championship Tournament riding a stationary bicycle set up courtside—she nevertheless overcame all obstacles to help lead Connecticut to its eighth national championship. The 6-5 senior center from Port Jervis, NY, was also named The American's first Sportsmanship Award winner.
Finally, guard Saniya Chong was named to The American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team.