Gatorade® National Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Breanna Stewart

2011 WNBA MVP and Former Gatorade Texas Girls Basketball Player of the Year Tamika Catchings Surprises Standout with Elite Honor

Mar 15, 2012, 13:30 ET from The Gatorade Company

CICERO, N.Y., March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 27th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS today announced Breanna Stewart of Cicero-North Syracuse High School (Cicero, N.Y.) as its 2011-12 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year.  Stewart was surprised with the news in class by Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings, who won Gatorade Texas Girls Basketball Player of the Year honors in 1996-97.  

"When I received the award in 1997, it was such a pivotal moment for me as an athlete.  I'm grateful to be a part of this moment for Breanna, who is truly a phenomenal student-athlete on and off the court," said Catchings, four-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and seven-time All Star. "Gatorade has been on the sidelines fueling athletic performance for years, so to be recognized by a brand that understands the game and truly helps athletes perform is a huge honor for these kids."

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Stewart as the nation's best high school girls basketball player.  A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Stewart from nearly 440,000 girls basketball players nationwide. Stewart is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

The 6-foot-4 senior forward has led the Northstars to a 19-3 record, the Section 3 Class AA championship and a berth in the Class AA state tournament semifinals against Ossining, scheduled for March 16. The state's returning Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Stewart is averaging 25.7 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 3.2 assists and 3.2 steals entering the postseason final four. A member of the USA Basketball Women's U19 National Team which won the 2011 FIBA World Championships, she has been selected to participate in both the McDonald's All-American Game and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-America Game. New York's Section III career leader for points scored, Stewart is rated as the nation's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2012 by the Hoopgurlz ESPNU 100.

Stewart has maintained an A average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of Ronald McDonald House charities, the March of Dimes, the Special Olympics, the Salvation Army, youth basketball programs and a literacy-outreach program.

"Breanna Stewart impacts the game more than any kid I've ever seen," said Jim Marsh, head coach at Corcoran High. "She's an unbelievable passer, she sees the floor and with that wingspan it's so difficult to attack their defense. She changes every facet of the game."

Stewart has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Connecticut this fall.

"Without question, Breanna  is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school girls basketball player based on her statistics on the court and the impact her accomplishments have had on Cicero-North Syracuse's  success," said Gatorade President North America and Global Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Robb O'Hagan.  "But she is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be.  She represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by ESPNHS and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:

  • Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
  • WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
  • NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
  • Two-time beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh
  • Three-time 200-meter World Champion Allyson Felix


For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at, on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at












Breanna Stewart

Kaleena  Mosqueda-Lewis

Chiney Ogwumike

Skylar Diggins

Nneka Ogwumike

Cicero-North Syracuse/Cicero, NY

Mater Dei/Santa Ana, CA

Cy-Fair/Cypress, TX

Washington/South Bend, IN

Cy-Fair/Cypress, TX

High School Senior

Univ. of Connecticut

Stanford University

Univ. of Notre Dame

Stanford University


Maya Moore

Collins Hill/Suwanee, GA

Minnesota Lynx


Tina Charles

Christ the King/Middle Village, NY

Connecticut Sun


Abby Waner

ThunderRidge/Highlands Ranch, CO

ESPN Analyst


Candace Parker

Naperville Central/Naperville, IL

Los Angeles Sparks


Candace Parker

Naperville Central/Naperville, IL

Los Angeles Sparks


Ann Strother

Highlands Ranch/Highlands Ranch, CO

Univ. of Colorado (Coach)


Shyra Ely

Ben Davis/Indianapolis, IN

Indiana Fever


Shereka Wright

Copperas Cove/Copperas Cove, TX

Texas Tech Univ. (Coach)


Nicole Kaczmarski

Sachem North/Lake Rononkoma, NY

Broadcast Analyst


Tamika Raymond

Chaminade-Julienne/Dayton, OH

Univ. of Kansas Asst. Coach


Nikki Teasley

St. John's at Prospect Hall/Frederick, MD

Retired from WNBA


Jamie Walz

Highlands/Ft. Thomas, KY

Highlands HS Coach


Stephanie McCarty

Seeger/West Lebanon, IN

Univ. of Toledo (Coach)


Monick Foote

Samford/Wilmington, DE



La'Keshia Frett

Phoebus/Hampton, VA

Univ. of Georgia (Coach)


Katie Smith

Logan/Logan, OH

Washington Mystics


Michelle Marciniak

Central Catholic/Allentown, PA

Univ. of S. Carolina (Coach)


Lisa Leslie

Morningside/Inglewood, CA

Retired from WNBA


Lisa Harrison

Southern/Louisville, KY

Retired from WNBA


Vicki Hall

Brebeuf Preparatory/Indianapolis, IN



Kris Durham

Union Catholic/Scotch Plains, NJ

Seton Hall Univ. Grad.


Susan Anderson

Mt. Baker/Deming, WA

Univ. of Texas Grad.









SOURCE The Gatorade Company