UNCASVILLE, Conn. — If there was any doubt that Breanna Stewart was going to be the No. 1 player taken in the WNBA Draft on Thursday night, it was erased Thursday morning when she received a text from Seattle’s Sue Bird.
“She said good luck and congrats and I’ll see you soon,” the 6-4 Connecticut senior said shortly after her selection by the Storm was announced. “It’s nice to hear from a legend.”
Stewart, a two-time consensus player of the year, led a UConn sweep of the first three picks of the draft.
Moriah Jefferson went second to San Antonio and Morgan Tuck went third to Connecticut, marking the first time in WNBA Draft history that three players from the same college team went 1-2-3.
In fact, according to the WNBA, it was the first time it has happened in any major sport.
The WNBA has had two of the first three players selected from the same college team on three separate occasions. The closest to the top three being from the same team had occurred in 2002, when UConn had players taken first, second, fourth and sixth.
“It shows how special of a group we are,” Stewart said. “We went in as freshmen together. We won four national championships together. Now we all are drafted together. Every single one of us — Mo, Morgan — could have gone number one in any draft class.”
Yet in this draft class, Stewart stood head and shoulders above the others.
Stewart is not afraid to make a statement on or off the court. Witness the lipstick-red jump suit she wore to the nationally televised draft. Or the way she fist- bumped WNBA commissioner Lisa Borders.
The league, which is celebrating its 20th season of play this year, hopes Stewart can be a transformative player in the women’s game, a player with the tools, talents and smarts to help push the league to a new level.
“She’s about as pro-ready as you can get,” ESPN analyst and WNBA pioneer Rebecca Lobo said.
The draft capped quite a heady past month for Stewart, whose UConn team went undefeated en route to its fourth consecutive title.
Said Stewart: “There are definitely times I’m actually questioning whether it’s actually real. I woke up this morning and it was like, ‘Wow, I’m getting drafted today.’ It’s just a childhood dream. And it came true.”