It is sometimes hard to believe Breanna Stewart suffered an Achilles tear not too long ago.
Stewart kept on with her unparalleled success on Sunday, adding a EuroLeague championship and Final Four MVP trophy to a lengthy list of accomplishments for the 26-year-old. It follows a WNBA title and Finals MVP award won with the Seattle Storm in October.
Russian powerhouse UMMC Ekaterinburg won its third consecutive title with an undefeated season. It's their sixth title overall, the most in the modern era and second on the all-time list behind 18-time winner TTT Riga.
WNBA stars were on both sides of the championship battle between UMMC and Perfumerias Avenida before heading back home to report for the WNBA's 25th season, which tips on May 14.
Stewart wins back-to-back titles
Stewart averaged 14.5 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the EuroLeague tournament. In the 78-68 final victory over Spain's Perfumerias Avenida in Istanbul, Stewart had 12 points, six boards and three assists. She made two of six 3-pointers, the most taken of anyone on UMMC's side.
The game was nearly two years to the day after she ruptured her right Achilles tendon in the 2019 EuroLeague championship game while playing for Russian side Dynamo Kursk. They were playing UMMC, which went on to win its first of three consecutive titles. Stewart was the regular season MVP that year.
At the time, Stewart was coming off of the most decorated 12 months in the history of professional basketball. She led the Storm to the 2018 WNBA championship and was named both league and finals MVP. She then led Team USA to gold at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, where she was again named MVP. That calendar year she earned 2018 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year honors.
She skipped the 2019 WNBA season and returned to the court following rehab early in 2020 with Team USA. The Storm won the franchise's fourth title in the fall.
The four-time NCAA champion and four-time tournament Most Outstanding Player with UConn is back to historic winning ways, earning back-to-back domestic and European titles with MVPs in each. The Storm will begin training camp later this month and tip off the season on May 15 in a WNBA Finals rematch.
WNBA stars win EuroLeague title
UMMC won its third title with a strong frontcourt showing. Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner had 14 points and eight rebounds.
The Washington Mystics' Emma Meesseman, named WNBA Finals MVP in 2019, had 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Meesseman opted out of the 2020 season and may not return to the Mystics in 2021 because of Belgian national team commitments.
Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot put up a double-double of 12 points and 12 assists. Fellow Sky standout Allie Quigley scored nine points. They will be joined by free agent signing Candace Parker back in Chicago.
The Connecticut Sun's Jonquel Jones had nine points on 50 percent shooting with 11 rebounds in 19 minutes. She also opted out of the 2020 WNBA season.
Atlanta Dream guard Tiffany Hayes, another opt-out, showed out in the Avenida loss. She scored a game-high 29 points on 12-for-19 shooting and added five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Hayes averaged 18 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists this season.
Bella Alarie, the Dallas Wings' No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 draft, played limited minutes. Her one basket on a feed by Leonor Rodriguez cut the deficit to five with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Stewart's new WNBA teammate Katie Lou Samuelson had six points and six rebounds in 37 minutes. She was acquired by the Storm in free agency in the three-way trade that netted the Wings the No. 1 pick used on Charli Collier. Los Angeles Sparks guard Karlie Samuelson, Katie Lou's older sister, had seven points and five rebounds in 28 minutes.
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