Stewart Scores 17 In Win Over Mali At U19s; Jefferson DNP

UConn sophomore Breanna Stewart scored 13 of her game-high 17 points in the first half and added seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in 22 minutes today to lead the U.S. to a 103-26 rout of Mali in its final game of preliminary round play at the FIBA U-19 World Championship in Panavėžys, Lithuania.

The U.S., which led 61-10 at halftime, scored 35 points off of 25 turnovers en route to clinching the No. 1 spot in Group D.

Fellow UConn sophomore Morgan Tuck finished with nine points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 22 minutes. Moriah Jefferson did not play due to a sprained left wrist and is listed day-to-day.

UConn Class of 2014 target A’ja Wilson posted her second straight double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in 16 minutes.

The U.S. (3-0) will begin the second round Monday against Netherlands (1-2) at 1:15 p.m.

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

Q: What do you think of the team’s play over the course of the first round?
A: “I think everybody’s played really good so far. We had some tough games against China. We didn’t know what to expect really from Lithuania or Mali. I think just playing when you’re not sure how the other team is going to be, I think it really helps, because that’s how it is the majority of the tournament. We don’t know everything about these teams.’’

Q: What kind of goals were set for the team tonight and did you achieve them?
A: “Goals that we set for ourselves, we wanted to shoot 60 percent from two and 45 percent from three. I think we achieved them, we came close to them at least. We also wanted to try to really increase our assist-to-turnover ratio.’’

Q: Were you trying to work on anything in particular after the game was in hand?
A: “We were working on changing our defenses on the fly. We did that a lot. And really having people out there being vocal about it, because we’re not going to be able to hear coach (Kate) Meier all the time and someone’s going to have to take charge and call the defense.’’

Q: What have you been doing off the court?
A: “We’ve been checking out the view (of the countryside). We’ve been hanging in my room, playing cards, watching TV if there’s an English channel, just hanging out with my teammates.’’