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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

UConn's Breanna Stewart a model of consistency as a sophomore

The more time that passes on the more it hits me how much Breanna Stewart is cut from the same cloth as the person she is most often compared to.

When Maya Moore played her final game at UConn most people are aware that she is the only player in program history to score 3,000 points. However, Moore also finished second all-time with 311 3-pointers, second with 1,276 rebounds, third with 310 steals, fourth with 204 blocked shots, sixth with 544 assists and most importantly to her, an NCAA Division I record 150 wins as  a player.

It is that all-around type of career that Stewart is in the midst of.
With 563 points she is one point shy of Svetlana Abrosimova and Diana Taurasi for the fifth best total as a sophomore as UConn, her 232 rebounds rank ninth and the 82 blocks as a sophomore is the third best total. She also has a chance to join Rebecca Lobo as the only Huskies with 100 assists and blocks in the same season.

Her consistency can be highlighted by the fact that she scored in double figures for the 20th straight time which is the longest streak for a Connecticut player since Moore’s impressive run of 53 straight double-digit scoring games.

“Not that the points aren't important but just showing that I am producing out there, helping my teammates out and just having that killer instinct that no matter who we play you want to go out and have a good scoring night, have a good rebounding night and have an overall good night,” Stewart said.

There have been people who said that Stewart would be taken with the first overall pick if she were eligible to be picked by the Connecticut Sun with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s WNBA draft. Still, her coach is asking more from his superstar.

“A kid like that she should be in double figures in every half, in double figures in rebounds,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “She is a really good passer, she blocks shots. There aren't a whole lot of things that she can't do but like any other college player, you see stretches when you kind of shake your head and say 'what the hell is she doing?' It is not like she is the finished product, she and Bria (Hartley), I thought at the beginning of the season that Stefanie Dolson was the only one who understood exactly what we needed and how we needed it to be done and now we've got three players who understand everything we are trying to do all the time.”

There’s no questioning that UConn has a dynamic starting five when Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is on the court with the Huskies but there have been questions about how much productions the Huskies would be getting from the under the radar players when the postseason rolls around.

Saniya Chong wasn’t at her best in the wins over Houston and SMU but she still averaged 6 points and 4.5 assists per game and Kiah Stokes averaged 5.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3 blocks per contest.
Brianna Banks had a bigger impact in the SMU game than her final stat line of six points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and four turnovers would indicate.

When UConn ended the first half on a 15-0 run, Banks was in the middle of things as she proved to be a disruptive force on defense which enabled the Huskies to be out in transition.

“We are always encouraging her but Brianna Banks doesn't always do that, she plays a little cautious at times,” Auriemma said. “When you bring the quickness and the kind of speed she has up and down the floor, I wish she would take more chances because she would get involved more on the defensive end. She has been doing that and that is why she has been playing more. I think she knows that the more she does that, the more she is going to play.”

We should hear more about where Mosqueda-Lewis stands as she recovers from mononucleosis as UConn’s medical staff will take a look at her tomorrow. While it is a little ambitious to expect to see her taking part in regular practice drills at tomorrow’s practice, if she gets the thumbs’ up perhaps she can start doing some basketball-related activities this week.

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