menu close twitter facebook snapchat instagram youtube article basketball gallery graph left-arrow right-arrow search star trophy video net clipboard shield-check shield-star stopwatch filter reset Share

E-Team

Shop

WEAR WHAT THE TEAM WEARS

Shop Now USA Basketball
22 WWC Stewart huddle vs BEL 0922221440x650

In her Third World Cup, Stewart Captains a Team of Many First-Timers

  • Author:
    Sarah Lounsbury, IUPUI
  • Date:
    Sep 22, 2022

Breanna Stewart came out in dominating fashion during the United States’ 87-72 victory over Belgium in Group A of the FIBA Women’s World Cup on Thursday. As the team’s leading scorer with 22 points, Stewart was within a point of matching her World Cup high of 23.

“I think she’s special,” said teammate Kahleah Copper. “Just to see her growth and to see how she’s been dominating and winning is amazing. Especially to be here with her and see her leadership and see her growth as a player.”

Stewart personifies the image of a team leader. She’s the first one to lead the team onto the court after a timeout and she exemplifies a sense of calmness and poise that can only come from extensive experience on an international stage.

The MVP of the 2018 World Cup, Stewart led the USA to championships in 2014 and 2018 and Olympic gold medals in Rio de Janeiro (2016) and Tokyo (2020). As the only member of the USA roster to play in a third World Cup, Stewart could use her experience to her advantage, and most importantly to her team's benefit.

Seven members of the team made their World Cup debut Thursday, including Sabrina Ionescu, Ariel Atkins, Shakira Austin, Kahleah Copper, Brionna Jones, Betnijah Laney and Alyssa Thomas. Chelsea Gray of the WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces will play in her first World Cup game after she arrives with teammates A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum.

Stewart’s ability to bring the team together despite having little time to train alongside each other played an important role.

“Obviously, she's been through many Olympics and has been in this position,” Ionescu said, “so I think just her ability to lead, and a lot of us haven't been in this position so obviously we look up to her.

“We look up to a lot of the players that have played in the Olympics and have kind of been in this position. She's done an absolutely great job at bringing us all together because we are a new group and haven't had much time to build chemistry, but I think we've done a great job in the two weeks that we've had.”

Stewart knows that she has big shoes to fill with the departure of legendary players such as Sue Bird, who was part of four World Cup titles, and Diana Taurasi, who won three gold medals.

“There’s obviously a void to fill,” Stewart said. “I want to make sure that here with USA Basketball or in the WNBA I’m continuing to lead by example, continuing to use my voice and helping the players that haven’t been here before, or the ones that don’t have as much experience, kind of hit the ground running. This (tournament) is eight games in 10 days hopefully, so it’s not easy for us.”

USA coach Cheryl Reeve knows Stewart has what it takes to step up as a leader for the next generation of American talent.

“You peel away Sue and Dee (Taurasi) that she’s been able to kind of lean on and now it’s Stewie,” said Reeve. “That’s a tremendous growth opportunity and I’m really looking forward to see how she can impact our team in that way.”

The USA will take on Puerto Rico in their second Group A game at 10:30 a.m. Friday (Sydney)/8:30 p.m. ET Thursday (USA) live on ESPN+.  

Sarah Lounsbury is a contributor to USAB.com as part of the Sports Capital Journalism Program at IUPUI.

Related Videos

The 2022 USA National Team spent a week in Washington, D.C., training ahead of the FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament, where the USA went 2-0 in games against Belgium and Puerto Rico.

Members of USA Basketball women's teams reflect on the influence Title IX has had on their lives.

Game action from the 2022 USA Basketball Women's World Cup Qualifying Team's games against Belgium and Puerto Rico.

Highlights from the 2022 USA Basketball Women's World Cup Qualifying Team's 93-55 victory over Puerto Rico.

Highlights from the 2022 USA Basketball Women's World Cup Qualifying Team's 84-75 victory over Belgium.

Related Content

  • Author:
    Sarah Lounsbury, IUPUI
  • Date:
    Sep 26, 2022

Two-time WNBA All-Star Kahleah Copper is making her USA Basketball debut at the 2022 FIBA Women's World Cup.

  • Author:
    Owen Kaelble, IUPUI
  • Date:
    Sep 26, 2022

The Women's World Cup Team improved to 4-0 in Group A with a record-setting 145-69 win over Korea at the 2022 FIBA World Cup.

  • Author:
    Sarah Lounsbury, IUPUI
  • Date:
    Sep 24, 2022

Aces teammates Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and A'ja Wilson joined the USA World Cup Team after a celebrating the Aces' first WNBA title

The Women's World Cup Team improved to 3-0 in Group at with a 77-63 win over previously unbeaten China at the 2022 FIBA World Cup.

  • Author:
    Owen Kaelble, IUPUI
  • Date:
    Sep 23, 2022

The USA enters the Group A matchup having won 24 consecutive World Cup games, the longest streak since winning 26 from 1994 through 2006. China is looking to improve to 3-0 in Australia while also hoping to reach the final for the first time in 28 years.

Coach Licensing & Organization Accreditation Login



Forgot Password?