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Stewart leads Team USA to international gold

The reputation, and accomplishments, of Breanna Stewart now spread far beyond the Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team she led to last season's Section III Class AA title.

Earlier this month, Stewart led the Under-16 USA Women's National Team to the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Tournament in Mexico City.

Team USA, coached by Wingate University's Barbara Nelson, dominated the event, starting Aug. 10 with a 128-17 romp over the Dominican Republic where Stewart posted 13 points. A 114-37 victory over Puerto Rico followed, with Stewart getting eight points and three blocks.

To finish round-robin play, Team USA handled Argentina 93-33, and here Stewart really began to take off, pouring in 16 points and adding eight rebounds, plus three more blocks.

That proved to be Team USA's lowest point total of the tournament, for in the semifinals against Brazil it prevailed 105-54, despite Stewart's modest total of three points and three rebounds. Kale Mosqueda-Lewis (24 points) and Ariel Massengale (23 points) led the way as Team USA made 15 of 28 3-point shots on this night.

All of this led to the Aug. 14 gold-medal game between Team USA and Canada. Only leading by seven after one period, Team USA put together a 29-9 second-quarter run and cruised from there, winning 103-52 for the gold. Canada took the silver, and Argentina won the bronze.

Stewart, in the final, picked up eight points, but also contributed five rebounds and a tournament-best four steals. And in the course of the tournament, her status as one of the nation's top young all-around forwards only grew larger.

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