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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stewart delivers in the clutch

Don't even try telling Breanna Stewart that it was little more than a glorified practice. Whenever they are keeping score and there are two teams on the court the UConn incoming freshman wants nothing more than for her team to come out on top.

However, in a scrimmage between the U.S. Under-18 and U-17 national teams it was the younger squad which had the upper hand and led for the first 3 1/2 quarters.

Then Stewart displayed the form that has made her the winner of every national high school player of the year award.

Baskets by Erica McCall, Rebecca Greenwell (a 3-pointer) and Mercedes Russell pushed a two-point U-17 lead to a nine-point cushion midway through the fourth quarter. Then Stewart went to work as she started a 10-0 run by the U-18s with a jumper and capped the run with back to back 3-pointers. She would add a couple of assists, take a charge, grab a couple of rebounds as the U-18s ended the game on a 21-5 run to cap a 73-66 win on Wednesday night.

"I set it up by putting myself in foul trouble a little bit but in the second half I wanted to step it up and lead the team," Stewart said. "We started to make a run and took control."

Stewart led all scorers in the scrimmage with 18 points and also had nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Thirteen of her points came in the second half including eight in the fourth quarter.

Here's a fact from the scrimmage that should warm the hearts of UConn fans - of the four U-18 players who scored in double figures in the game three will be freshmen at UConn this season. Morgan Tuck had 12 points, four rebounds and three steals while Moriah Jefferson ended up with 12 points as well. The other double-digit scorer for the U-18s was UConn recruiting target Jannah Tucker as she finished with 10 points.

Former UConn recruiting target Diamond DeShields, who committed to North Carolina, led the U-17s with 14 points, Kaela Davis had 11 points while Russell had six points and nine rebounds.

After the two US teams scrimmaged at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Field House, they met up with Brazil.

The U-18s played the first half and outscored Brazil 21-19 behind nine points from Maryland commit Lexie Brown. The U-17s played Brazil in the third and fourth quarter and outscored the Brazilians (coached by former WNBA star Janeth Arcain) 38-23 behind 10 points from Kaela Davis.

Among those in attendance were former UConn star Rebecca Lobo who was doing some homework since she will be broadcasting the scrimmages between Brazil and the U.S. on Thursday. At 4 p.m. the U.S. U-17 squad will play Brazil followed by the U-18s meeting Brazil. Both games will be shown live on ESPN3.

Although the U.S. teams are here through Friday, I will be heading home tomorrow night.

I have plenty of tape left to transcribe and videos to edit but look for plenty more from my three days in Orlando and Kissimmee. My story on Jefferson was supposed to run in tomorrow's edition of the Register but was pushed back to make room for the story on Courtney Ekmark committing to UConn. The plan is to do an extended piece on Stewart figures to run on Sunday. I had an informative interview with U.S. women's national team director Carol Callan today about Stewart so look for some of those quotes this weekend. I also talked to her about UConn recruiting target Saniya Chong. Among other items to look for in this blog will be Diamond DeShields talking about her decision to pass on UConn among others to commit to North Carolina, more on UConn recruiting targets Erica McCall, Linnae Harper and Jannah Tucker although the focus will not be on the recruiting but what makes them special players.

I have some recruiting stuff on Brianna Turner and Kendall Cooper. I have some interesting stuff from an interview with Ekmark during last week's trials which one of these days I will get around to posting.

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