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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stewart erupts for career-high 37 in UConn win

During the final flurry of shots fired up by the five UConn starters I watched sophomore Breanna Stewart hit her share of shots but nothing I saw gave me any indication of what was about to take place at historical McGonigle Hall.

Stewart made 12 of her first 13 (10 of 11 coming in the first half) en route to a career-high 37 points in a 93-56 win over Temple.

Twice this season Stewart scored 29 points, matching her best output as a Husky and for a while it seemed as if she was once ago fall just shy of her first 30-point player as a college player. Then in a span of 69 seconds she added eight more points to put the finishing touches on a scintillating performance.

"That is what I thought, I thought I was going to get stuck there but I didn't," Stewart said. "You have to, your confidence builds up every time the ball goes in and then you are not afraid to take even more difficult shots."

Stewart credits a recent conversation she had with UConn coach Geno Auriemma for getting her back on the right track.

After torching California for 29 points last month, Stewart promptly went 7 of 28 in her last two games and even in the game at Baylor, Stewart was clearly out of sync.

That is not the case any longer.

"In practice she gets into grooves that every time she shoots the ball it goes in, it doesn't matter where she is on the floor and she was out of that groove for a stretch and I have noticed in that last 10 days that she is in that frame of mind now in practice, in shootaround, whatever time she touches the ball I am surprised it doesn't go in," Auriemma said. "She is a pretty unique player and I am glad we have her."

Even her teammates, who have seen her erupt offensively in games and during practice, didn't realize just how many points Stewart finished with.

"I had idea she had 37 afterwards and I was like 'really?'" Stefanie Dolson said. "Not to say it was a quiet 37 but it was weird because we do such a great job of getting everybody incorporated that you don't think every time down the court that Stewie is making a shot. She ran the floor great tonight, she got great shots and she was knocking them down."

As for Dolson, she went down in obvious pain when Stewart hit a 3-pointer with 8:02 left. Dolson went to the bench and had her right ankle taped. However, Dolson said it was nothing to be concerned about.

"Kiah and I ran into each other and I stepped on her foot," Dolson said. "I knew it was minor. I wear braces all the time so those always save my ankles and I knew Rosemary (Ragle, UConn's athletic trainer) would tape it up and I'd be fine."




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