Stewart's defense sets the tone
It began just 29 seconds after she checked into the game when she blocked a shot by Ashlee Anderson. She ended up with four blocked shots and three steals to go with her 15 points and nine rebounds in a 76-36 victory.
"I like it obviously," Stewart said of her blocked shots including a couple rather emphatic ones. "I think it gets the crowd into it sometimes and they get excited, it just helps the team get into a transition game."
Stewart hit a low when she played just seven minutes and failed to register either a point or a rebound in a loss to the nation's top-ranked team.
While the level of competition wasn't exactly world class, it is an encouraging sign to see Stewart average 15.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in the two victories.
It wasn't all positive for UConn. Freshman Morgan Tuck did not play in the second half and Caroline Doty saw only four minutes after halftime which resulted in Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis playing all 40 minutes.
"Morgan has said her knee was bothering her and she really couldn't go any harder and it was going to be a little bit of a struggle for her so Caroline same thing, she has been banged up a little bit and her knee has been bothering her," Auriemma said. "We were down in numbers and it is never a bad thing to have her (Mosqueda-Lewis) out on the court."
Auriemma had a different attitude concerning sophomore forward/center Kiah Stokes who did not play.
Stokes actually got some nice things done late in Monday's practice when UConn ran 4 on 4 half-court offensive drills. However, Auriemma was blunt when I asked him after the game why Stokes didn't get into the game at all.
"There are only so many minutes in the game and right now I am trying to get minutes for the guys I think have earned it,' he said.