Stokes Is Dominating Defensive Presence - NBC Connecticut
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Stokes Is Dominating Defensive Presence

On Saturday, Kiah Stokes will be honored on Senior Day.

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    Stokes Is Dominating Defensive Presence
    AP
    Connecticut's Kiah Stokes (41) blocks a shot attempt by Prairie View A&M's LaReahn Washington (0), as Connecticut's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Stefanie Dolson (31) defend, during the first half of a first-round game of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in Storrs, Conn.

    Kiah Stokes has a just a few games left in her college career. The 6-3 senior has played in all 28 games this season (3 starts), averaging 19.5 minutes, 4.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per contest.

    On Saturday, she along with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, will be honored on Senior Day. The thing is, Stokes almost didn't come to UConn.

    “On the way to the airport we found out our flight had been canceled,” Stokes told SNY.com's Carl Adamec about her planned recruiting visit back in Oct. 2010. “My mom goes, ‘Do you still want to go?’ I went, ‘If we can find another flight, sure. But if not it’s all right because I probably won’t end up going there anyway.’”

    We know how that turned out. And now, more than four years later, Stokes has won two national titles on the nation's best team.

    “Now that it’s near, it’s sad,” she said. “But knowing that we’ll have a chance to play at least one more at Gampel in the NCAA Tournament is a good feeling. I’m trying to keep my emotions off to the side while we’re in-season and when it’s over I’ll be sad. But right now I’m working to stay strong and stay focused to the end.”

    Stokes' strength is dominating the lane; she's one block away from 300, and six blocks away from passing former Husky Tina Charles for third on the all-time list.

    “I never expected her to have the defensive presence she’s had here,” coach Geno Auriemma told Adamec. “I don’t want to say it came out of nowhere but it’s been way more than I thought she was capable of. And it’s something she takes great pride in.

    “I would venture to say that Kiah’s biggest strengths are the things she brings off the court. Some kids have no presence off the court. Their contribution is only what’s on the floor. What she contributes in all the other areas, she has a tremendous impact on her teammates. There’s a lot to be said for a kid that does that.”