How a 14-year-old's half-court buzzer-beater led to a one-on-one with Breanna Stewart
Monique Carter is a 5-foot-6 point guard in the Class of 2023. And she already grabbed the attention of Breanna Stewart.
In the Jr. NBA Global Championship in Orlando, Florida, a basketball tournament that features some of the top 13- and 14-year-olds in the world, Carter hit a half-court, game-winning buzzer-beater on Tuesday, lifting the Northwest Girls to a 72-71 win over South Girls.
"Well, I knew it was going to hit the backboard when I let it go," Carter said. "It happened so fast, but I had a feeling that it had a chance."
Those were her only points of the game, and the banked-in prayer landed her on "SportsCenter" that night, helping Carter, who doesn't yet have a Twitter account, go viral.
"My mom is hopefully setting up a Twitter account for me soon," Carter said.
The 14-year-old Carter, of Puyallup, Washington, got a chance to meet another Seattle star thanks to her shot.
Stewart, who is sitting out the 2019 WNBA season while she recovers from an Achilles injury, met Carter before Day 2 of the championships to congratulate her on the shot.
"It was a cool experience to meet Monique," Stewart said. "I saw the game winner last night on 'SportsCenter,' and getting the chance to meet her was important for us and for the game we both play."
Stewart, who said during WNBA All-Star Weekend she hoped to return to the court by February, added her recovery has provided her the chance to meet with the next generation of players who may get the chance to one day play with her.
"I am happy to do off-court events," Stewart said. "I was coming off an MVP year and then being injured, normally I would be playing right now. This gives me the time to spend here with all of these players."
Carter's team went 3-0 in pool play, led by Malia Samuels, who averaged 22.3 points per game, and Isabel Sullivan, who averaged 19.7 points.
They begin the elimination round Friday. The tournament concludes with the U.S. championship on Saturday and the world championship on Sunday.
Carter's aspirations are clear when it comes to basketball. Step 1 is to play varsity for her high school team. Then, earn a basketball scholarship. And eventually, the WNBA.
Yet even though she could have let the viral fame go to her head, she has a team-first mentality.
"I take the little things that I do for my team and put them together to help us win," Carter said. "Just being a part of a team."
Stewart had a message not just to the competitors in Orlando, but to young basketball players everywhere: "I was once one of them, too."