It wasn't that Kiah Stokes' career up to this point was undistinguished, it's just that she was playing behind Stefanie Dolson. With Dolson now in the WNBA, Stokes, a 6-3 senior from Marion, Iowa, has emerged as dominating frontcourt player, averaging nine rebounds a game.
And while she may only put up 6.3 points per game, Stokes could have a long WNBA career. But don't take our word for it.
"I think she is going to be a really good WNBA player and there's a few reasons I believe so," former UConn great Rebecca Lobo told the Hartford Courant's John Altavilla on Sunday. "I'm not saying she could be a star in the league, but I think she is capable of having a long career because she can defend other post players and has a fantastic [athletic] body that will enable her to match up with some of the league's elite post players. I see her being able to hold her own defensively. ...
"She is good enough finishing off around the basket that she should be able to score six or eight points a game," Lobo continued. "And I think she knows how to play with superstars. She knows how to impact the game without demanding [offensive] touches. …. She's not going to be a Tina Charles-MVP type player, but she can be pretty good for a long time."
That's glowing praise, for sure, and an important reminder that while scoring points are important, there will always be a need for those players who battle for those rebounds that allow others to do all that scoring.
Stokes scored 10 points and pulled 10 rebounds in UConn's win over UCLA on Sunday.
"I know I've been working hard at it, but it's not something I thought I would hear someone like her say," Stokes told Altavilla. "I'm glad it's starting to show, but I know I can contribute even more. And that's very exciting to me."
And undoubtedly very exciting for Geno Auriemma.