Even on her special night, UConn's Stewart proves she is more than just a scorer
However, on a night when she became the ninth UConn player to score 2,000 career points, it was her all-around game that was hard to ignore.
Stewart did finish with a game-high 25 points but she might have taken more pride in her overall stat line with eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocked shots as the Huskies won their home opener for the 25th straight season and extended their winning streak to 40 games.
"It is definitely a nice stat line," Stewart said "I should be having a double-double but if I can maintain the assists, keep them high and just the all-around game, that is what you want to see as a player individually and even from your other teammates."
What Stewart's teammates and coaches are seeing from her in the desire not to rest on her laurels even though she led UConn to national titles in each of her first three seasons and is a two-time national player of the year.
"She comes out every night and does something different," Jefferson said. "I don't think people realize it as much because she scores so many points but she is a great scorer, a great rebounder, she can also block shots really well."
The ultimate compliment came when UConn's Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma mentioned Stewart in the same breath as Husky legends Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi.
"She averages about 15 shots," Auriemma said. You score 2,000 points when you average 15 shots a game, that is pretty good. The thing I liked about her the most are the intangibles in addition to the points. The thing that I most appreciate about Stewie right now is in her own way she has become very vocal. I don't mean that she is constantly chirping aoout there but when she has something to say, she says it and she asks a lot of questions, that never used to happen because she is seeing things and she is trying to get better all the time. There is not a day that goes by where she is not trying to figure out a way to get better. It is hard to get more stuff into a stat sheet than she gets.
"We went into halftime and complained that we must shoot for an hour every day, guys are passing up open shots. How do you solve your outside shooting problems? We will have our center knock in a couple of 3s. She just has the wherewithal to do when we need them done, that is kind of what Maya did, Dee did."
Stewart hit the 2,000-point plateau in her 117th career game, only Maya Moore (108 games) and Kerry Bascom (113) did in fewer games.
"When you have these kinds of milestones, you kind of just want to get it over with because people are talking about it," Stewart said. "I can still play basketball, play with my team so I just tried to play within the offense and shoot when I normally shoot."
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