There was little question that the Huskies would be potent from the perimeter this season. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis made a team single-season record 118 3-pointers last season when she led the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (.493). Bria Hartley has proven that she has the ability to score from the perimeter throughout her career. And Moriah Jefferson worked during the off-season to improve her shooting.
However, they understood that in order for them to find extensive success on the outside they too had to find extensive success inside. The trio of Stefanie Dolson, Breanna Stewart and Kiah Stokes has been as dominant as any frontcourt in the country through the first eight games.
They continued to thrive today against St. Bonaventure, combining for 46 points, 29 rebounds, eight assists and 10 blocks in 78 minutes.
“We have really great shooters, but if can’t do stuff in the post then they’re just going to deny all of our shooters,’’ Stokes said. “But if we develop a post game it definitely opens up room for our shooters and for us. Teams are going to have trouble picking which way they want to get beat, whether in the post or on the outside.’’
Stokes had a career-high 19 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes against the Bonnies. Dolson finished with 16 points, a season-high 15 rebounds, four assists and four blocks in 30 minutes. And Stewart added 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 23 minutes.
They can score. They can rebound. They can block shots. They can set up their teammates for good looks at basket too. Keep this in mind, UConn will only get stronger inside when Morgan Tuck returns to action. She is expected to be sidelined another two to four weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on her right knee Nov. 12.
“Obviously, you want to see that down the road against a higher level of competition,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “But, all in all, I think the three of them have played really, really well, with few exceptions, in these eight games.’’
Stewart is averaging a team-high 18.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.8 blocks in 26.5 minutes. Dolson is averaging 14.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.5 blocks in 31.1 minutes. Stokes is averaging 8.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and a team-high 3.3 blocks in 23.6 minutes.
They are accounting for 47.3 percent of UConn’s scoring and 60.5 percent of the rebounding and are shooting a combined 57.0 percent from the field. They are also the primary reason why the Huskies have outscored the opposition 378-132 in the paint this season.
“We’re good,’’ Dolson said. “We’ve been working really hard down at the post end and I’m really proud of how we’ve been finishing, how we’ve been posting up. So we’re just going to keep working hard and keep finishing when the guards give it to us.’’
Said Stokes: “I think we’ve got a lot of players that can score. Stef and Stewie, obviously, dominate in the post. Stewie’s so long and can jump. Stef’s just a beast down low. What can you say? So it’s great. I look up to both of them. But they always work hard. They always get it done. And if I can get my points in there too it definitely opens things up for them and our guards as well.’’