Stokes Could Make Biggest Jump For Huskies This Off-Season

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The off-season is the time when players work on their game. They look to make improvements. Some look to evolve into players that UConn coach Geno Auriemma will be able to consistently rely on during the upcoming season. Some look to improve on an All-American seasons. Some look to move closer to becoming an All-American.

This off-season will be no different for the reigning national champions.

“Every year players need to come back with something they didn’t have,’’ Auriemma said. “You take a look at Kelly (Faris), for example, and you see the transformation in her game from freshman year to senior year. That’s just hard work. That’s just putting the time in the gym during the summer. Whether it’s Bria (Hartley) needs to be better at doing things with the ball in her hands. Moriah (Jefferson) needs to be better at making shots to keep defenses honest. And Stewie (Breanna Stewart) needs to get stronger with the ball and needs to day in and day out learn to handle how physical the game is going to be for her.

“And Kiah (Stokes) … Kiah’s a big key. She’s got a lot of work to do, and if she puts the work in she’s going to get rewarded. And if she puts the time in and commits herself, she can change her whole career from where it’s been the last two years to where it could be the next two years. So of all the players that we have on our team she’s probably the one that if she decides to make some changes could see the most benefits.’’

Stokes, who missed six games due to a stress reaction in her lower right leg this past season, averaged 2.8 points (.660 FG), 3.5 rebounds and 10.7 minutes in 32 games for the Huskies. The only player to average fewer points and minutes was seldom-used senior Heather Buck.

There were times when Stokes looked like she had finally found a place in UConn’s rotation. She had at least five rebounds in 10 games and five games with at least seven rebounds.

Stokes enjoyed the best game of her career when she produced a career-high 14 points and season-highs of 11 rebounds and 20 minutes in the first round of the NCAA tournament against Idaho.

However, there were also 14 games when Stokes had two or fewer rebounds and 15 games that saw her fail to reach double figures in minutes played.

Heading into her junior season, Stokes certainly has the potential to make an impact off the bench for the Huskies. At this point, though, whether or not that happens is up to her.

“Kiah has a lot of potential and if she just works harder and puts it in her mind that she can be great I don’t think that there’s anything that can stop her,’’ UConn All-American Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said.

Rich

Categories: General

6 Responses

  1. Mike McManus says:

    I agree with Charlie, and maybe “killer instinct” is something that can’t be taught. One could almost say the same for Brianna Stewart[she also needs to adjust to the physical aspect of the game] however the difference between the two of them is raw talent, especially on offense.

  2. james kerwin says:

    Kiah Stokes has it all except dedication, drive, interest. Geno put her in a lot of big games–and she played well for a few minutes. As big as she is she had the ball take away.

    But I love most things Stokes–She could be as good as Stewie, Tuck, Dolson–she has the ability and the body.
    Geno or her Dad should send her to Big Girl school then spend the rest of the summer playing against 6 ft 3 guys and fast guys (in basketball that is).
    Uconn world only wants the best out of her and she can be among the very best. Give it a go Kiah–

  3. Paul Husky Fan says:

    I think Kiah is a tremendous rebounder and shot blocker. Hopefully Geno is correct and she can / will improve her mental toughness and offensive shooting choices. She certainly has the dream physique to be a WNBA prospect. I hope she heals her physical ailments and really ups her game to the highest level.

  4. Mike McManus says:

    I hope Geno is right about Stokes. I’m sure that all UCONN fans would like nothing better than to see Kia turn the corner on her career the same way that Tina Charles did a few years ago. She has two years left to prove herself and I for one hope that she has a great Summer on the way to a better Fall.

  5. Charlie says:

    i think Kiah lacks a Killer instinct. For her size, I don’t think she is a very good post player or rebounder.Gals BB has become physical. Can’t be a good guy. She’s got to get into the mix more and start banging some people.

  6. Irving Pinsky says:

    Kiah would easily start on every other team in the country. Geno is trying to build her into a WNBA player. She has the physical gifts now it is the will. Will Kiah work hard enough? Watch out if she does. She is a very graceful big girl:).