Breanna Stewart struggled with consistency early in her freshman season but was mostly unstoppable once the postseason rolled around, earning Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four to help the Huskies to their eighth national title.
As a sophomore, Stewart continues to improve but not just when it comes to lighting up the scoreboard. In addition to 19 points, she matched her career high with 13 boards against UC Davis.
“When players are really good offensive players, I don’t ever worry when they have a bad game offensively or they do things that are so out of the norm,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said after the team's win over UC Davis last Thursday. “I don’t go to practice trying to figure out how to help Stewie score. It just comes. She knows what she’s doing out there and in the course of our offense she’s going to get shots. But she has to put a little time and effort into it. She has to work at it a little bit. And (Thursday) she did.
“But the other things I spend a lot of time with Stewie on. We spend a lot of time on her defense, a lot of time on rebounding, a lot of time on moving without the ball and doing things when she doesn’t have the ball in her hands. Those are the things that we do at Connecticut to help our really good players become great players. I’m not just sitting here saying. ‘Well, Stewie just go get 20 every night, be an All-American and live happily ever after.’ That’s not how it works here. There are so many things she has to do and so many things she has to get better at. She improved this week. From Sunday to (Thursday) she got better. This week in practice she got better. ...
“Stewie was talking with one of the other coaches about the fact she was rebounding well and the fact she went hard to the offensive boards,” Auriemma continued. “That’s an area of the game not a lot of people pay attention to. She’s very difficult to box out and difficult to keep away from the basket. Stewie should have a double-double every night just like Stefanie Dolson does, close to it anyway.”
Stewart credited her natural gifts for her rebounding prowess. "You know, long arms," she said laughing, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec.
“Rebounding is something that I can excel at,” Stewart continued. “I just wanted to focus on it (Thursday) and it worked. And the assists were nice. Five assists with just one turnover, not bad.”