Stewart Scores 26 To Lead U.S. Past Lithuania at U-19s

UConn sophomore Breanna Stewart scored 19 of her game-high 26 points in the first quarter and added five rebounds, two assists and three steals in 21 minutes today to lead the U.S. to a 113-47 rout of Lithuania in its opening game of preliminary round play at the FIBA U-19 World Championship in Panavėžys, Lithuania.

The U.S., which led 38-15 after the first quarter, held Lithuania to 29.5 percent shooting from the field and forced 29 turnovers.

Fellow UConn sophomore Morgan Tuck added 18 points, five rebounds, a game-high six assists and three steals in 21 minutes. Moriah Jefferson had eight points, two rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes.

UConn Class of 2014 target A’ja Wilson finished with nine points and game-highs of seven rebounds and four blocks in 18 minutes.

The U.S. will meet China (1-0) Friday at 1:15 p.m.

Here are postgame comments from Stewart and Tuck (courtesy of USA Basketball) …

Q: Do you recall having a quarter like the one you had in the first quarter?
A: “I’m not sure. I don’t pay attention to that, but I’m sure I’ve been hot like that before.’’

Q: Were you just feeling it or were you simply wide open?
A: “I think it was a mixture of both. They weren’t playing that great of a defense. It seemed that after a cut, you’d be open. But at the same time, there were some of my shots that just went in.’’

Q: How were you able to pull away so quickly?
A: “I think our full court pressure really helped. When we press like that and get them out of their sorts, we’re able to get a lot of breakaway layups in transition. It really helped us on offense.’’

Q: You all seemed to get a lot of easy steals. Was that the case?
A: “I don’t know. I think that maybe they weren’t expecting us to be as strong defensively, or something like that, but we were getting up in them and we knew we had to come out strong in the first quarter and really get things going for the bench and the rest of the team.’’

Q: How hard is it to stay focused when you have such a big lead?
A: “It’s not that hard. You have to forget the score. You have to think about your team goals, you have to try to go after those and try to complete those.’’

Q: What was it like to finally get the U19 World Championship started?
A: “It was a relief kind of. We were in training camp for a little bit and then finally getting out there for a game, it was a little different. It was nice to play a different team.’’

On Breanna Stewart’s performance in the first quarter …
A: “It was amazing. She was just on fire, hitting her shots. That’s something we needed to get us going. I’m hoping she can do that every game.’’

Q: How were you able to pull away so quickly?
A: “Our group that started, we were really clicking on all cylinders. Our defense was good. Our press was really aggressive and we were getting our hands on the ball. We were really just running the floor. When Moriah (Jefferson) or Lex (Jones) would get a steal, then me, Bre (Stewart) and Bashaara (Graves) were just running the floor and getting layups.’’