UConn's Big Three win a performance for the ages
"It is going to be a long time before we see something like this again," Auriemma said.
The Hall of Fame coach was speaking in general terms about what the trio has managed to accomplish since their arrival but his words also helped capture the essence of the performance put forth by UConn's "Big Three."
Stewart had 21 points, a career-high tying 16 rebounds and five blocked shots (three in one possession). Jefferson had 20 points (on just 10 shots), seven assists, three steals and no turnovers while Tuck chipped in with 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Fittingly they all came out of the game together with 5:49 left to play to a rousing ovation.
"It was like the perfect ending to playing here at Gampel for all three of us to have the games that we had, it was amazing," Jefferson said. "You can't even think about getting emotional and crying with the way that we played, we were all really excited."
During one stretch the trio had 10 straight baskets for the Huskies and had two other stretches when they accounted for each of the five baskets scored by the Huskies as UConn pulled away from the pesky Dukes.
"It was just fun, we were just excited for each other and excited for our team," Tuck said. "It was by far the mot fun we had playing here before so it was nice that our last time playing together here was a great memory."
UConn posted its 71st win, moving into sole possession of second place on the NCAA Division I women's list and set up a regional semifinal matchup with Mississippi State on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Webster Bank Arena.
"It was unbelievable," Stewart said. "I think for all three of us to play as well as we did, finish the game together essentially was huge. To receive a standing ovation, there is nothing better than that."
Some notes from the game.
Stewart and Jefferson are now the highest scoring UConn tandem in not only NCAA tournament history but in postseason history as well. They now have 908 career postseason points moving by the previous record of 897 set by Kara Wolters and Carla Berube from 1993-96 and the 587 points in the NCAA tournament tops the mark of 566 set by Diana Taurasi and Jessica Moore from 2001-04.
Stewart posted her 132nd career double-digit scoring game tying her with Minnesota's Rachel Banham (whose career ended with a loss in the WNIT on Sunday) for the fourth highest total in NCAA Division I history. She could still surpass former Oklahoma star Courtney Paris' total of 134 but the record 149 set by Maya Moore and 146 by Brittney Griner is out of reach even for Stewart.
Stewart has now surpassed the 400 mark in both career assists and blocked shots. Blocked shot totals have only been official since 1988 and I went back a little further to when Cheryl Miller and Cindy Brown played and don't have another player with 400 assists and 400 blocked shots.
Jefferson is now sixth on the NCAA tournament list with 46 career steals and is second in NCAA tournament history with a 51.9 3-point percentage trailing only Jennifer Azzi's absurd total of 55.8. Officially Jefferson won't qualify since a player needs to attempt 1.5 3-pointers per game and she is currently at 1.4 per contest.
There are certainly more statistic notes for the two of them but I'll save that for a later day.