For the first time in — she doesn’t know when — Breanna Stewart enters a basketball season rested and relaxed. It took a knee injury to finally slow down the Seattle Storm star and halt what she described as a “crazy whirlwind.”
For the first time in — she doesn’t know when — Breanna Stewart enters a basketball season rested and relaxed.
It took a knee injury to finally slow down the Seattle Storm star and halt what she described as a “crazy whirlwind,” in which she has been on the go since the start of her senior season (2015-16) at Connecticut.
Stewart sprained the posterior cruciate ligament in her right knee Jan. 7 while playing for Shanghai Baoshan Dahua in the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association.
She returned to the United States two weeks later and spent the winter in Los Angeles rehabbing the first significant injury of her playing career.
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“It was kind of like a blessing in disguise,” Stewart said this week at Storm practice. “It gave me some time off because my year before that was nonstop.
“I just relaxed. I was in L.A., so I was enjoying the weather. Did a lot of shopping. Just enjoying being back in the United States.”
Stewart took a trip to Aruba for vacation. She also flew to Dallas and watched in disbelief as Mississippi State handed her former team, Connecticut, a 66-64 upset overtime defeat in the NCAA women’s tournament semifinals that snapped the Huskies’ record 111-game winning streak and a run of four consecutive national championships.
Despite the heartbreaking defeat, it was a blissful three-month respite for Stewart.
“Oh my God, I don’t even know when I’ve had this much time off,” she said. “Maybe in high school. Maybe. I’ve always been going from one commitment to the other.”
The past year had been exceptionally taxing on the 6-foot-4, 170-pound forward.
Stewart, who went 151-5 at UConn, capped a brilliant college career in April 2016 with her fourth NCAA championship and fourth most outstanding player of the tournament award. She earned consensus player-of-the-year honors for the third straight year.
Nine days after the title game, she was taken No. 1 overall in the 2016 WNBA draft.
Midway through the season, Stewart jetted to Brazil in August and helped the U.S. women’s team win an Olympic gold medal.
She returned to Seattle and led the Storm to a 16-18 finish and its first WNBA playoff berth after a two-year absence.
Stewart captured the league’s Rookie of the Year award in a nearly unanimous vote.
She led all rookies with 18.3 points (sixth overall in the WNBA), 9.3 rebounds (second) and 1.9 blocks (third).
A week after a 94-85 playoff loss at Atlanta ended her rookie season, Stewart flew to China for the four-month WCBA season.
Playing overseas during the winter is common for women’s basketball stars and Stewart likely…