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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

UConn's Stewart closing in on rare feat

There are times when I wonder if it would make sense for somebody to be hired just to track Breanna Stewart's accomplishments this season.

Since that doesn't appear to be happening, I will try to pick up the slack in that department.

When UConn plays Prairie View A&M in the first round of the NCAA tournament at 8 p.m. tonight, she has a chance to move up a couple of UConn single-season lists.

With 121 free throws made, she is three behind Tina Charles for the No. 10 spot and four from Kerry Bascom. Her 669 points is currently ninth on the Huskies' single-season chart. Next up is teammate Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who scored 670 points last season and she needs just 31 points to join Maya Moore and Tina Charles as the only UConn players to score 700 points in a season.

But I haven't even gotten to the best part.

Stewart needs six blocked shots to join Rebecca Lobo and Kara Wolters as the only Huskies with 100 blocks in a season. Already with 107 assists, she will join Lobo as the only UConn players to hit triple figures in assists and blocked shots in the same season.

How rare is that accomplishment? Well, I went back through the statistical archives on the NCAA site and the stats are available dating back to the 2000-01 season and if Stewart reaches that plateau, that would bring the grand total of players who have more than 100 assists and blocks in the same season to one.. The closest player I saw was Western Illinois' Zane Teilane, who had 125 blocks and 95 assists during the 2005-06 season.

Here's what Stewart had to say about potentially hitting the 100 mark in both categories.

"I think they both mean a lot," Stewart said. "Assists show that you are looking for your teammates and trying to be unselfish. With blocks, you are trying to be a force in the paint or when people try to shoot."

Stewart has improved in so many areas from her outstanding freshman season but no numbers jump out at me more than in the assist to turnover department.

As a freshman she had 35 assists and 54 turnovers which is pretty typical for a post player. This season she has 107 assists and 60 turnovers which is just shows the tremendous growth she has made in a short amount of time.

Here teammates and coaches are not surprised by these gaudy numbers.

"She has always been a good passer but she understands the offense now and she can find the other guy and deliver the ball," UConn senor center Stefanie Dolson said. "She has a really high basketball IQ so I am not surprised that her numbers have gone up."

Here's what assistant coach Marisa Moseley, who works with the post players, thinks about Stewart's improvement as a passer and on-court decision maker.

"I actually told her about three weeks ago that any awards and accolades she is recognized for, one thing I am most proud of her is her mental development in her game. She understands where people are supposed to be, what  they are supposed to be doing out there. That helps you when you become a better passer because you know the timing of where it needs to be delivered, where it needs to go, what pass needs to be thrown. It is not not a surprise that she has improved that much because I think she is actually thinking the game more, she has really developed that part of the game.

"She is kind of a rare breed with everything she can do on the court. You can't find a lot of people who can do that and that is what makes her so unique and so special for us because her versatility whether it is passing or on the defensive end, she can be such a force and such a rim protector so for her to able to step out there and do that is awesome."

Speaking of Dolson, she currently ranks third in the Senior CLASS Award fan voting which ends tomorrow. Nebraska'a Jordan Hooper has received 34.3 percent of the vote, Iowa State's Hallie Christofferson is next with 16.5 percent followed by Dolson at 15.5 percent.

There will be a live blog running during tonight's UConn/Prairie View game.

The same is set to tip at 8:03 p.m. and that is the earliest the game will begin even if the first game between Saint Joseph's and Georgia ends quickly.

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