More times than not homecomings tend to not go as planned for the players involved.
Syracuse resident Breanna Stewart was the exception Sunday as she matched her career-high with 29 points and added 10 rebounds against California at Madison Square Garden. However, Saniya Chong (Ossining), Stefanie Dolson (Port Jervis) and Bria Hartley (North Babylon) did not play as well as they would have liked with a good number of family and friends in the seats.
Dolson, who played only five minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls, finished with eight points (3-of-8 FG), a game-high 11 rebounds, three assists in a season-low 22 minutes.
Hartley had eight points (4-of-12 FG), four rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes.
Chong had two points (0-of-2 FG), two rebounds and one assist in 19 minutes.
“Other than Stewie, the rest of them were out in Times Square until three in the morning,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “We picked them up on the way to the game (Sunday). I think Saniya was meeting with all of her friends till late into the night or something, because she really struggled and I felt bad for her. And Bria Hartley struggled a little bit, and Stef with the foul trouble.
“I always want when kids go home, or close to home anyway, for them to play great. I know they all look forward to it, and sometimes it doesn’t work out because they put too much pressure on themselves. They get a little bit antsy and they want to be good and they want to show off for their friends and their family. There was a time when I wanted to take Stefanie out, and she forced me to leave her in because she hadn’t played that much. So I know it was important to them, and I’m glad we played well and I’m glad we won.’’