Breanna Stewart is No. 7 on ESPN The Magazine's list of the most dominant athletes of the year. Click here for more on the Dominant 20.
Stewie is a problem. It's a combination of her size and her position. There are plenty of 6-foot-4 women who play basketball, but they don't have the combination of gifts that she does. She can handle the ball, shoot 3-pointers and block shots. She doesn't look imposing, but she is a tremendous athlete. A lot of teams don't have a player that can truly match up with her. Candace Parker, maybe, or Nneka Ogwumike because she's such a good defender. But Stewie is a handful for any team.
What really sets her apart is her length. Even though she's 6-foot-4, she has a wingspan of 7-1. When she's shooting, her higher release point makes her shot difficult to contest. But the impact of her length is really felt on the defensive end. She can give herself an extra step of a cushion when closing out. It's easier for her to get into passing lanes and deflect the ball. It's like playing against a 6-8 or 6-9 player.
Before Game 1 of the WNBA Finals between the Storm and Mystics, the production team asked Stewie how she felt playing in her first Finals. She responded, "I was built for these moments." If someone else said something like this, it might come across as arrogant. But Stewie says it with a smile and she backs it up. She knows how good she is and draws a lot of strength from that. That's why she had the season she did on the floor this year. There was a comfort level off the court that translated onto the court and allowed her to take the next step. She is exactly the person she wants to be.