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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Stewart powers UConn past South Florida

Breanna Stewart's third-quarter was already one for the ages when the senior forward delivered a series of plays that even by her rather lofty standards was something to behold.

Katie Lou Samuelson had misfired on a 3-point attempt when Stewart soared into the air to corral one of her five offensive rebounds. She quickly went across the lane and converted an athletic reverse layup with 26 seconds left in the third quarter.

As Stewart made her way up the court, USF coach Jose Fernandez made eye contact with UConn's Geno Auriemma. Auriemma extended his arms as if to say 'what can I tell you?'

"Jose looked at me and said 'what the hell is that?' I said 'I have no idea, your guess is as good as mine.' When Stewie starts going stuff like that, all you can do is just shake your head."

Stewart laughed when asked to discuss that sequence of events.

"I wanted to go get the ball, I wanted to crash the boards offensively and I got it," Stewart said. "I didn't realize how high I was but the next thing I know I was putting it in the basket."

In the third quarter Stewart had 16 points, five rebounds, one assist and two blocked shots. After going 3 of 12 from the floor in the first half, she was 8 of 11 in the third quarter. So what was the difference?

"Moving more, getting more open shots, whether it was just offensive rebounds and the way I was moving without the ball and just trying to make it tough for them rather than taking a difficult shot for me," Stewart said.

Morgan Tuck, who has played alongside Stewart even before they became teammates at UConn, might have summed up Stewart's brilliant second-half performance better than anybody.

"It is hard being her," Tuck said. "She could do that every night but I think she realizes that 'I don't have to go and get 30 every night. I have to make sure my teammates are getting the ball.' I think she just continues to show why she is the best player in the country.

She is fun to play with. With her athletic ability, most girls don't have that at all and it kind of makes it fun when she goes up there. I know she almost tipped one in earlier in the game and it is fun to be out there with things like that happening "

Much like when Warde Manuel was hired at UConn, Geno Auriemma isn't too familiar with the person hired

David Benedict comes to UConn from Auburn where he is the Chief Operating Officer for the athletic department. He also stops Arizona State, Long Beach State, Virginia Commonwealth and Minnesota.

"I found out about it today and got the rundown and I really not that familiar other than what his bios says and who he has worked with," Auriemma said. "He has a tough job. He has a lot of experiences at a lot of different places which is good but when you have been a lot of different places and seen a lot of different ways to do it, I think that is really good. I trust the people who are making those decisions. the last AD we hired walked into my office and said 'hi, I am Warde Manuel, the new AD.' I know how that went, that worked out fairly decently."

Crystal Dangerfield's impressive high school career came to an end on Monday when two-time defending state champion Blackman lost to Riverdale 73-66 in the Tennessee Region 4-AAA semifinals.

Blackman only defeated Riverdale 51-48 and 71-69 so the loss isn't as stunning as it might first appear.

Dangerfield finished her career with 2,168 points including 700 as a senior.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do the UConn coaches have any explanation for Morgan Tuck's shooting issues since the South Carolina game? Tuck historically has missed 2 shots per game right at the rim. But the concern is just "how far off" her shots are at times, whether from beyond the arc, mid range, or at the rim.

7:09 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim - When was the last time a UConn player took 25 shots but 0 (zero) free throws? Based on the number of quick whistles and delayed whistles last night, it is surprising Stewart was not fouled on any of her 25 shots.

7:11 AM 

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