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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stewart makes it look routine

Late in Wednesday's win over Oakland I glanced at the live stats on my computer screen and was astonished by the number of rebounds Breanna Stewart was piling up. Fast forward to Saturday and I had the same reaction when looking at how many points the UConn freshman phenom had.

I guess a sign of her greatness is that Stewart can make it look pretty easy when she is on a roll as she was in the two games this week.

The final numbers for Stewart were 48 points, 20 rebounds, four steals and two blocks in 54 minutes. Stewart was 19 of 30 from the field including 3 of 8 from 3-point range and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line.

The 27 points against Hartford gave her 169 through her first 10 games which broke the previous program record of 165 set by Maya Moore.

"In high school I could get any shot I like, here obviously defenses are better and you really have to work for your shot," Stewart said. "I have to keep working for my shot whether it is setting a screen to get  somebody else open and getting somebody else open. I think it's just staying within the offense and shooting when I am open."

Comparing the numbers Moore and Stewart put up through the first 10 games of their career shows that Moore has attempted more shots while Stewart has done a better job of getting to the free-throw line. Moore also scored her 165 points in 204 minutes while Stewart has played 28 more minutes through the first 10 games.

Hartford coach Jen Rizzotti coach Stewart on the U.S. U-19 team back in 2011 and she had an insightful take on Stewart's play early on in her career.

"She is just a natural at everything," Rizzotti said. "Even when I saw her play years ago before I coached her and (said) 'she really can't do that, she really can't do that' but it is like every weakness she has she finds a way to erase it within a year. She is going left today, she is pulling up, she is finishing around the basket. She is a very dynamic offensive player. We don't really have the kind of athlete that can make her life difficult. You could see in some of the physical games against Penn State and Maryland how she struggled, teams really bodied her up. She can just pick you apart in every way and it doesn't hurt her that she has players around her banging 3's left and right so you can't really double her, you can't pay too much attention to her."

UConn coach Geno Auriemma just shrugged his shoulders when addressing Stewart's impressive offensive start to her career.

"I don't have any thoughts on it," Auriemma said. "She doesn't know how she scores. She takes a lot of shots and she makes a lot of them. Guys who shoot a lot and make a lot score a lot of points. Let me guess, she broke Maya's record. Another guy who took a lot of shots. That is what scorers do, they go into games and they figure out how to score points. It was the same thing I said about Maya when she a freshman. If Breanna Stewart ever learns how to play basketball and where her shots are coming from, when and how she is going to be really, really good."

Another stat of note from the game is that UConn won its last two games by 72 and 57 points. I was curious what was the last time the Huskies won back to back games by more than 129 points. Assuming my math is correct, it's been a while. Back in February of 2001 the Huskies beat West Virginia by 63 points (97-34) and three days later crushed St. John's 118-44 meaning they won the two games by a total of 137 points.

Of course things figure to be different when UConn plays at No. 1 Stanford in its next game on Saturday.

"I am looking forward to that game," Stewart said. "I've heard Stanford is a pretty hostile environment and it is going to be pretty live. I am looking forward to experiencing the whole thing and hopefully playing a good game."

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Blogger Genosguy said...

Geno has a history of NOT protecting his Freshmen--remember DT in the NCAA finals against ND (and Riley). She was hyped so much--no one could live up to the hype.
Stewart is fantastic--But she is a FRESHMAN. KML was thrown to the wolves (against ND) last year and she was eaten alive.
With the Stanford Big front and back court Stewart is going to be bumped bruised defended by two bigs at a time. Stewie is the offensive weapon Uconn has inside, Dolson is ok but no Stewie. KML, Banks, Faris, Doty if they hit from outside may make the game interesting.

7:41 PM 
Blogger Genosguy said...

Thanks Jim for not publicizing GENO's knocks on the USA--he believes that America is the worst country in the world in killing children. Italy is so much better--he says. But geno does not know the facts.
Terrorists have attacked adults and kids in Italy (and their mafia), Germany, France (including a school), Scotland (killed kids), Russia killed adults and kids, Japan gassed subway system killing kids .
There is a group of people who think the USA is terrible. Not I. We have warts and Sandy Hook was one of them (mental health need work)--but to say we are worse than Europe (Italy included) is just not true.
In my grandmothers time they'd tell people saying things like that: if you don't like your uncle sammy, if you dont like the red white and blue--dont act like the cur in the story, don't bite the hand that's feeding you. (Gene Autry song)

7:47 PM 

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