Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Former UConn standout Stokes finding her comfort zone

Even as Kiah Stokes was making an immediate impact as a rookie with the  New York Liberty, she was still trying to get comfortable with life in professional basketball.

After a strong rookie season in WNBA and her first chance to play overseas, Stokes has returned to the Liberty with a renewed sense of confidence.

The numbers certainly show that there is no sophomore slump for Stokes. She is playing right around the same number of minutes through the first 11 games that she did a season ago. She went from averaging 5.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game to putting up averages of 7.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. She is seventh in the league in rebounding (fifth in rebounding per 40 minutes) and second in blocked shots.

"I am coming more into my role," Stokes said. "I know more of how the league works. My rookie year I was kind of nervous but I think I understand my teammates and coaching staff more of what it takes to win games. I am just trying to be more comfortable on offense, trying to do what I know I can do, block shots, rebound, post up strong."

Stokes has blocked 24 shots in 11 games this season but none generated as much buzz as the one of her former UConn teammate Breanna Stewart. The block at any point of the game would have been worthy of making the highlight reel especially seeing how her teammates reacted to the emphatic block but the fact that is came during crunch time as the Liberty was holding onto a lead, it became an even more impressive play.

Stokes had been hearing it from her coaches and teammates for giving up a 3-pointer to Sue Bird after the team had been given instructions not to surrender a 3-pointer or three-point play.

"Tina (Charles) went for the shot fake and I said no easy 2s so either foul her or make sure she misses it. I tried to get a block and I did," Stokes said before last night's game against the Connecticut Sun. "I didn't really see my teammates reaction until seeing the replay after but all I know is Tina hit me in my chest really hard, that is the only thing I remember about that.

"It was fun. Stewie is a great scorer, a great player so especially at that point in the game it was pretty intense. It was fun. I am glad I was on my end. I didn't guard her very much (at UConn). I knew she was really long so i had to time it pretty well."


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