Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Unforgettable day in South Bend for Stokes family

Greg Stokes knew it was going to be a special day inside Purcell Pavilion once he found out that both his son and daughter would be playing games against Notre Dame on the same early December day.

However, not even he could have imagined what was about to transpire.

His daughter Kiah was up first and although she lost her starting job after a loss to Stanford last month, she showed that she has an ability to dominate whether she is in the starting lineup of not for two-time defending national champion UConn.

Stokes certainly dominated in the 76-58 win over Notre Dame as she tied her career high 18 rebounds in just 24 minutes. She also had four blocked shots to become the sixth UConn player with 200 career blocks.

"It is a big moment, she is playing well," Greg Stokes said. "My thing is I don't want her to relax, I want her to keep it going, help her team win. Whatever she needs to do to help her team win that is what she needs to do.

"It is great because my son is playing in the game next so it has been a great trip so far, we have to close the deal. 2 for 1, I love it, it has been fun. It makes for a long day for us but it is worth it."

Darius Stokes' Fairleigh Dickinson team just happened to be the opponent in the back end of a women's/men's doubleheader. He started but was limited to 17 minutes due to foul trouble. He made his only field goal attempt with a nice finish in the lane in the second half while being fouled. He finished with three points, two rebounds and an assist in 75-57 loss to the Fighting Irish.

"You just don't hear that, it is crazy," Darius Stokes said of playing at the same arena as his sister.

"On my visit to Fairleigh Dickinson, I visited some other schools and my coach was talking about playing the same day at Notre Dame so it was one of the reasons I wanted to go to Fairleigh Dickinson, When the schedules came out and I saw we were playing the same day, I couldn't believe it because my family got to see both of us play so it was something special."

Darius Stokes was able to watch the first half of the women's game before getting ready to play. He saw Kiah rip down 12 of those 18 rebounds.

"She played spectacular today, she was active," Darius Stokes said. "Geno's been on her but he expects the best of his players and I think this year  we are starting to see what she can do."

While her teammates went home after the Notre Dame, Stokes was given permission to stay behind to watch her brother's game.

"It was awesome," Kiah Stokes said, "I know he was looking forward to it. It is always nice to see him again, to see my brother and my parents."

The son of a former NBA player, it was only natural that Darius and Kiah gravitated towards the basketball court. They had some memorable showdowns in the driveway of their Marion, Iowa home,
"The past couple of years might not have been as even because he is taller but it is a good battle," Kiah said.

So what does Darius like about Kiah's game?

"She probably has one of the best bodies in women's basketball, she is 6-3, long arms, really strong, she can rebound, block shots and her offense is starting to come around to," he said. "I think she is going to be a good player in the WNBA.

"She always wanted to stay at Connecticut. I don't know where all these rumors came that she wanted to transfer, she always wanted to go to UConn and she knows that is where you go if you want to be the best. Not many people can say that so it is petty special that she is going for a third this year, I hope they get it done."

Darius originally enrolled at Iowa, the school where his father is one of the program's all-time greats. Darius played in 38 games over three seasons but never played more than nine minutes in a game. After graduating from Iowa the desire to have a larger on-court resulted in him looking for another school.

"At Iowa I didn't really get any minutes," Darius Stokes said. "I was a walk-on and this was my first real meaningful minutes in college basketball so it is taking a little bit to get used to. The last few games I have been in foul trouble so I haven't really been able to get into a rhtyhm so once I figure that out, I will be fine."


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