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Breanna Stewart: How does she get her points?

Connecticut Sun v New York Liberty Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

When it was announced in February that WNBA superstar Breanna Stewart would be playing in the Barclays Center, the entirety of the women’s basketball world went into shock. As a career 20 point-per-game scorer with the Seattle Storm, Stewart is one of the more elite in the business.

Along with guard Sabrina Ionescu, who was at the helm of a New York Liberty squad that was finally able to host a home playoff game last season, Stewart serves as a near-perfect counterpart to Ionescu. So far, it’s been good. The Liberty currently stand at second in the Eastern Conference with a 7-3 record.

Scoring the basketball is a skill that can be measured in different components. A player can be great at catching and shooting as soon as they receive a pass. Another player can be great at driving and putting pressure on defenders in the paint. A third player can be really good at getting to certain spots using specific dribble moves. The number of ways that you can put a ball into the hoop is endless.

Stewart, due to her combination of size and skill, has been able to add and refine many of these examples into her arsenal over the years. So far this season, she has put it all together, which has translated to her having a career year with 23.9 PPG (2nd in the WNBA) on 50/41/85 shooting splits.

One great representation of Stewart’s prowess was the Liberty’s home opener against the Indiana Fever on May 21. Stewart scored 45 points and led the Liberty to a 90-73 victory.

Here are some of the plays where Stewart was able to show off her versatility on the offensive end.

In this particular clip late in the first quarter, Stewart passes the ball to the corner to Ionescu in a standard half-court play. In one swift motion, Stewart relocates to the right-sided baseline where she gets the ball back for a tough mid-range jumper over two Indiana defenders. Even though she made it look really simple, the degree of difficulty is high within this five-second sequence. To run full speed, stop on a dime, jump, and raise over two defenders to shoot the ball in the exact trajectory you want it to go is difficult for any basketball player on any level to pull off. Stewart performed this act as if she was playing against middle schoolers.

In this third quarter play, Stewart is halted by an Indiana defender at the top of the key, causing Stewart to use her best pivot moves. There were no angles where she could find a teammate to reset the offense. No angles? No problem! Stewart was able to spin and fade away for a tough jumper to bail out the Liberty offense. This play showcased Stewart’s elite concentration, as she was forced to shoot the ball over a defender similar to her in size for a full contest.

This clip from her 28 point game against the Mercury centers around Stewart’s ability to recognize the importance of time and when exactly to score. With around 35 seconds remaining in the first half, Stewart quickly ran up court for a pull up three pointer off of a hang dribble. Stewart did this because she was attempting for the Liberty to get a two for one, which is a late game situation where a team tries to get two opportunities to score before time runs out.

These three clips were only minor examples of just how talented Stewart is. Joe and Clara Wu Tsai brought Stewart to New York not just for her stats or basketball aesthetics. In the near future, the plan is for Stewart’s presence on the floor to help the Liberty win their first championship for the fans, the city’s first pro basketball title since the Nets back in 1976. With the amount of ways Stewart can put the ball in the hole, it can’t be counted out.

The Liberty and Stewart play next on Friday night in Atlanta vs. the Dream.