UConn Basketball Star Wins Honda Cup
Breanna Stewart, senior forward on last season’s national champion University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, received the Honda Cup award as the nation’s top female athlete. She was honored during the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA).
Stewart beat out two other finalists from the Class of 2016. The award is given annually to the athlete who demonstrates superior individual athletic achievement and embodies the ideals of team contribution, scholastic endeavor and school and community involvement.
“On this special 40th anniversary for the CWSA, we congratulate Breanna and welcome her into the elite company of those who have held the Honda Cup … truly the ‘best of the best ” in collegiate athletics!” stated Chris Voelz, CWSA executive director.
The award not only marks 40 years for the CWSA, but also 30 years of Honda’s corporate sponsorship. Since beginning its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs.
The 2016 winner finished her career as UConn’s all-time leader with 414 career blocked shots and is second on the Huskies’ all-time scoring list with 2,676 points. Stewart was the top pick in the 2016 WNBA draft and is playing professionally for the Seattle Storm.
The Honda Inspiration award went to Emily Fogle (Purdue, Swimming & Diving), the Honda Division II Athlete of the Year to Emily Oren (Hillsdale, Track & Field) and the Honda Division III Athlete of the Year to Sydney Moss (Thomas More, Basketball).
Honda Sports Award winners are selected for 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports by a vote from among more than 1,000 NCAA-member institutions. Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin was the 2015 Honda Cup winner and previous winners include basketball superstars Maya Moore (2011, 2012) and Candace Parker (2008), volleyball star Misty May (1999), soccer great Mia Hamm (1994) and track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1985).
Stewart is the 16th basketball player to win the honor and fifth Honda Cup winner from UConn, giving UConn the most Honda Cup winners overall in the 40-year history of the awards program. All four previous Honda Cup winners from UConn have come in the sport of basketball: Maya Moore (2010, 2011), Jennifer Rizzotti (1996) and Rebecca Lobo (1995).
Stewart swept the 2016 national player of the year honor and is a two-time winner of the Wooden Award. She is also a three-time winner of the Naismith Trophy, Associated Press Player of the Year Award and the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, while also winning the Wade Trophy in each of the last two seasons. This season, she led her team to an unprecedented fourth straight national championship and is the first player in history to earn four Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors.
By Emily O’Connor