Breanna Stewart Is 'Ready to Start a New Chapter' with the Liberty as She Balances Basketball and Motherhood
The WNBA star will debut with the New York Liberty this season after finding MVP-level success in Seattle
There's no offseason for Breanna Stewart.
The WNBA star and mother, 28, is settling into her new home in Brooklyn, New York, just days after returning to the country from Turkey, where she helped lead her EuroLeague team Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding to a championship this season.
"Going overseas is always tough," Stewart, who shares one-year-old daughter Ruby with her wife Marta Xargay, tells PEOPLE, "but when you're going overseas with your family, it's a little bit harder."
Stewart loves traveling abroad, and her experience this year with the European team was "great," she says as she prepares to debut with the New York Liberty when the WNBA season starts on May 19.
Related:Breanna Stewart Celebrates U.S. Women's Basketball's Big Win with Wife Marta and Daughter Ruby
As a new mom, and the only mom on her new team, Stewart (whose fans call her Stewie) says she's excited to allow Ruby to "experience things most one-year-olds don't get to experience."
"For Ruby to be worldwide, to have traveled to many different countries is a luxury that not many have, and we want to make sure she's able to see and experience as much as possible so she knows that she can do whatever she wants in this world," Stewart says.
Stewart's move to the Liberty makes the New York WNBA team a serious contender for this season's title, something she's very aware of. "I'm really excited for it, just excited to get there and be around the team," she says.
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After becoming a face of the Seattle Storm organization, Stewart told the Seattle Times she decided to sign with the Liberty "to continue to be great" and to "continue to raise the standard" as a female athlete.
She'll be able to do both of those things, but her decision to leave Seattle involved one "huge factor" that she hadn't needed to consider before becoming a mother. "Moving across the country probably wasn't the easiest thing for Ruby, but knowing that we're closer to family and more friends" helped her and Xargay feel confident in the change.
Stewart is just one of 10 mothers playing in the WNBA, a unique challenge for both the players and the league. "I think the league tries to do the best they can to make sure that all the mothers have everything they need," she tells PEOPLE.
According to Stewart, the WNBA's new collective bargaining agreement offers mothers "way more maternity benefits" and resources, but she admits, "still, it's hard."
Related:Breanna Stewart Wants the WNBA to Charter Flights Next Season, NBA Stars Agree: 'No Matter How Much'
Road trips for away games are especially difficult for moms in the WNBA. "You want to have your family with you, but it's not always the easiest to put your kid on a cross-country flight," she says. Fortunately, "all of the teams have been very receptive to the kids" of players, says Stewart.
The family is "loving" the transition to Brooklyn so far, says Stewart. "We're really excited to venture out, and Ruby's actually going to go to school here shortly, which will be amazing for her to just continue to build relationships and friendships," Stewart explains.
The newest member of the Liberty says she and her family are "ready to start a new chapter" and she's confident that "the New York Liberty is the perfect place to do it."
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