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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stokes has three times the fun in UConn blowout win

Somehow it seemed rather fitting that the only thing standing between Kiah Stokes and becoming the fourth UConn women's player to record a triple-double was a couple of points.

Ripping rebounds and swatting away shots has been something that the senior from Marion, Iowa has been able to do with some amount of regularity since arriving in Storrs. However, she came into Wednesday's game against East Carolina with just 12 double-digit scoring games in 125 appearances as a Husky.

Stokes hit the double-digit mark in blocked shots and rebounds in the same sequence as she deflected a layup attempt by I'Tiana Taylor with 1:47 left to play and two seconds later was credited with her 10th rebound. With 1:05 left to play Stokes missed a layup and then with 33 seconds remaining she scored in the lane off an assist from Briana Pulido. Stokes added a rebound in the closing seconds to finish with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in the 87-32 victory.

Stokes has never been one driven by individual accolades but she was being reminded first by Kevin DeMille, UConn's Assistant Director of Women's Basketball Administration, and then by assistant coach Marisa Moseley that she was closing in on history.

First, it was DeMille  who informed that the senior forward/center had seven blocks for the sixth time this season and maybe it was time to swat away a few additional shots. Then late in the game Moseley, who works with the post players, implored Stokes to get the additional basket, rebound and blocked shot to record her first collegiate triple-double while setting a single-game program record with the 10 blocked shots.
"There was like two minutes left and 'Ris (assistant coach Marisa Moseley) was like 'one more block, one more rebound,'" Stokes said. "I was like 'what?' She said 'get a rebound and a block and you have a triple-double.' That was what I tried to do.
"I don't think about it but noticing I get a few (blocks), I said maybe I could get a few more and that is the way I approach it. I know I can block shots, it is one thing I know I can do and to get a triple-double with blocks, I think that is pretty awesome. Words can't really describe it but it is a great feeling and knowing that my teammates had my back and were encouraging me, that is something that is special to me where a lot of teammates might be 'oh, now she is going to get all of the attention' but my teammates were real important and that is the best part about it."
Stokes was there when teammates Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis joined Laura Lishness as the only Huskies with triple-doubles. Dolson's triple-double particularly inspired her since she worked alongside of Dolson in so many drills in practice and so many game situations in their three seasons at teammates.
"Stef got it with assists and I remember talking to her after and said 'I am going to get mine but with blocks instead,'" Stokes said. "I was just fooling around but now that is really happened, I think it is really awesome. I am excited and I am glad this is happening in January and now we are going to get the ball rolling for February and into March."
The 10 blocked shots moved Stokes into a tie for eighth on UConn's single-season charts and leaves her 39 shy of setting a single-season UConn record which has stood since 1994.
"Kiah is just is in a defensive mindset right now that I think very few players can get to that comfort level," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "They know they can impact any shot they want to impact. I have seen people do that in the past, I don't know if I have seen anybody do that as often as Kiah has done it."

There was a scary moment as UConn junior point guard Moriah Jefferson stayed down under the basket with 11:25 left in the first half. Jefferson received some treatment but was able to return to the game with 9:03 left in the opening half. Jefferson didn't hold back when she was back into the game. Jefferson finished with 11 points for UConn.

Jefferson admitted that her back has bothered her from time to time this season but it is not anything she is too concerned about. She received some treatment and after stretching out her back, she was ready to get back out there.

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