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Stewart earns USA Basketball national award

C-NS senior also gets 2,000th point in rout of Auburn

Cicero-North Syracuse senior forward Breanna Stewart (30) leaps for a rebound while Liverpool player Katie Dalton tries to block her in a December game in the Carrier Dome. Stewart was just named USA Basketball’s Female Athlete of the Year.

Cicero-North Syracuse senior forward Breanna Stewart (30) leaps for a rebound while Liverpool player Katie Dalton tries to block her in a December game in the Carrier Dome. Stewart was just named USA Basketball’s Female Athlete of the Year. Photo by Herm Card.

— In a career full of superlatives, Cicero-North Syracuse senior Breanna Stewart achieved two more rare honors on Friday.

First, Stewart was named USA Basketball's Female Athlete of the Year for her 2011 accomplishments. Hours later, in front of the home fans, Stewart passed the 2,000-point milestone as the state Class AA no. 1-ranked Northstars rolled past Auburn 92-39.

The national honor, handed out since 1980, has, among its honorees, some of the greatest players in the game's history, including Cheryl Miller, Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley, Chamique Holdsclaw and Diana Taurasi.

Stewart joined that elite list after a 2011 that included two U.S. national team appearances. First, in July she led Team USA to the gold medal at the FIBA Under-19 World Championships in Chile, averaging 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

Then, in October Stewart joined 11 college players on Team USA for the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, just the second high school player so honored. She responded by leading Team USA in points (15.3) and rebounds (11.3) as the Americans went 2-2 and finished seventh in the tournament.

With that secured, Stewart and her C-NS teammates went after Auburn, starting the game with 31 unanswered points. During that spurt, Stewart got career point no. 2,000, prompting another standing ovation from the home crowd. She is only the seventh player in Section III history to pass that plateau.

By halftime, it was 60-15, and Stewart had already recorded 20 points, with Brittany Paul adding 12 points. Stewart would build her total to 26 points before sitting in the third quarter, the game well in hand.

Sarah Bowles and Elizabeth Miles both finished with eight points, while Cara Gannett and Julie Hauberg both gained seven points. Auburn's Annie Giannone picked up 25 points.

While all this was going on, the C-NS boys basketball team ended a 10-day respite by going to Auburn and looking impressive in a 73-47 win over the Maroons to improve to 9-5 on the season.

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