Stewart Picks Up Right Where She Left Off For Huskies

The wait was not pleasant for UConn freshman Breanna Stewart. She had hoped to make her NCAA tournament debut Saturday against Idaho. It did not happen as she was held out as a precautionary measure with a sore left calf.

It had been 13 days since Stewart had played a game when she finally stepped on the court at Gampel Pavilion Monday in the second round against Vanderbilt. Judging by the way that she played one would have never known that she was coming off of such a lengthy layoff.

Stewart finished with 14 points (6-of-11 FG), five rebounds, three blocks and three steals as the Huskies advanced to the Bridgeport regional semifinals with a 77-44 win over the Commodores. She also did not commit a turnover in 27 minutes.

“I had been down for a while, and I was trying to really get myself back into the way I know how to play,’’ Stewart said. “I think that in the Big East tournament I definitely stepped it up, and I’ve carried it over into the NCAA tournament. I feel good. I feel confident with how I’m playing. Obviously, there’s still stuff I have to work on, but just having this confidence really helps.’’

Not only did Stewart hurt Vanderbilt with her scoring ability, Commodores’ coach Melanie Balcomb was caught off guard a bit by Stewart’s presence defensively as well.

“She’s so aggressive defensively, that was what surprised me,’’ Balcomb said. “I knew she could score. I recruited her out of high school. But I didn’t know she would be that aggressive defensively, shooting the gaps and getting in passing lanes. She’s a scoring machine. Obviously, she can face up and get to the rim and stretch the defense. But I didn’t know that she had the defense and the effort that she’s changed from high school and AAU. That adjustment as a freshman is rare today that’s she’s been able to do.’’

Stewart, who was named to the Big East all-tournament team, is averaging 16.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 29.5 minutes in four postseason games. She is shooting 59.6 percent from the field (28-of-47 FG) and has committed only three turnovers in 118 minutes.

Stewart has reached double figures in scoring in four straight games. It is her longest such streak since a run of six games from Jan. 5 through Jan. 29.

Prior to the Big East tournament opener against DePaul March 10, Stewart had scored in double figures in just four of her previous 10 games (8.1). At the most important time of the season she looks to have fully re-established her dominance for the Huskies.

“The more and more she does these things and is able to build her confidence in herself of, `Hey, look I can do this’ or `I can do that’ the better off it is,’’ UConn senior Kelly Faris said. “Because once she kind of sees that she’s able to do those things and is capable to be that type of player the better she’ll play.’’


Categories: General

6 Responses

  1. Keith says:

    Vinnie- you are correct. If you watch the games a 2nd and third time as I do after watching live every game- the easy buckets they create and make are because of the timing of the offense that runs smoother when she is starting it off. there is a flow and a timing that she has. She is not perfect, but still a key cog. Jefferson will have her time. I’m going to assume Geno and the staff know what is the better choice of playing minutes for the team is vs any of us. He is not going to risk losing to be loyal to doty who I am sure he loves!

  2. Vinnie Basile says:

    The NCAA Tournament is not the time to teach next years point guard. Watch how many open shots all players get when Doty runs the offense. Any knowledgeable sports fan knows that stats don’t tell the whole story!

  3. Here We Go Again says:

    What part of EMPTY BOXSCORE don’t you understand?

    Wow. Doty knows how to use media technology.

    Meanwhile Geno Shea and Doty have done a lousy job getting Jefferson ready.

    Which means next November UConn has no point guard. Again.

  4. geneco says:

    Doty was a really great talent. The injuries she had took away a great career but she didn’t fold up and die. She has the ability to mentor the new ones coming in and even undertook getting a DVD made showing the talents of Taurasi and Moore so Kaleena could watch their moves and improve her game. Maybe their is some reward given for all she does behind the scenes but you shouldn’t discard her for the reasons “here we go again” seems to think we should.

    She lifts the spirits of the players on the floor.

  5. Here We Go Again says:

    what contributions does doty make that others don’t? contributions are measured in statistics. that’s what they’re there for. uconn fans always claim that faris and doty do other things that don’t show up in stats. well so does everyone else. the preferential treatment in husky nation is blinding. give credit to those who actually do the work to get uconn to where they are. keep believing in that practice nonsense while you are at it.

  6. Vinnie Basile says:

    Caroline Doty does not get enough credit. After not playing in the ND game, she must have worked so hard in practice,that Geno started her in the tournament. The offense works so much better when she runs it.She was all over the court last nite,especially on defense. Usually, commentators only mention what she has overcome with the injuries. They should describe her contributions!