Stewart Making Rapid Progress, Expected To Play Vs. Syracuse

Breanna Stewart went through warm-ups without a problem Tuesday at the XL Center. She looked as if she could have played in UConn’s 72-58 win over No. 15 Louisville. That was not the case, though.

Stewart missed her second straight game with a sprained left ankle. But she is progressing rapidly and UConn coach Geno Auriemma said that he expects her to play Saturday against Syracuse.

“I think she’s come along a lot faster than we initially thought when she first got hurt,’’ Auriemma said. “Dr. (Tom) Trojian said that she might not be able to play until Monday (Jan. 21) in the Duke game, but then he also said unless (team athletic trainer) Rosemary (Ragle) can do what she normally does and fix these guys a lot sooner than everybody thinks … And I think that’s what’s happened. She looks good. If it was an emergency, she actually could’ve play tonight if we had to play her. But not with games on Saturday and Monday. So I’m expecting her fully to be ready to go on Saturday. But she’ll screw up our rotation so I might not play her anyway.’’

Stewart, who sustained the injury during practice Jan. 11, did not play at Marquette Last Saturday. She also did not practice Sunday or Monday.

Stewart is currently first on the team in rebounding (7.3) and second in scoring (14.6). Auriemma said that last few days have been difficult for her being unable to compete.

“Any time where something like that happens where you roll your ankle it’s up to the person whose trying to get better how quickly they get better sometimes,’’ Auriemma said. “And Breanna Stewart wants to play. And she probably made life miserable for Rosemary every day since the injury because she wants to play. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s on the phone at 2 o’clock in the morning saying, `What do I have to do right now?’ Because she wants to be out on the floor. She’s a great competitor. And maybe I gave everybody the wrong impression. I went crazy with the coaches. I said now we’ve got a guy, she’s got a torn ligament in her ankle. What the hell are we going to do?’ And I was put in my place. Like, `Yo, dummy, every sprained ankle is a torn ligament so shut up.’ `OK.’’’