KML, Stewart Shine in Win Over Pitt

NCAA Prairie View A M Connecticut Basketball

Remember those concerns about freshman Breanna Stewart being more consistent? She scored 15 points, pulled nine rebounds, blocked four shots and dished out four assists in the Huskies' 76-36 victory over Pittsburgh in Hartford Tuesday night.

For an idea of just how dominating UConn was on the boards consider this: Stewart rebounding totals tied for second on the team with senior Kelly Faris. Sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis ended the night with 13 boards to go along with a game-high 19 points. By the time it was over, the Huskies had outrebouned the Panthers 49-29.

Dating back to Jan. 9, the Huskies are 14-1 and all but three of their wins have come by at least 20 points. And now, it appears that Stewart is feeling more comfortable with her role, which is great news as UConn prepares for the postseason.

“I think I’m doing more and being more active," Stewart said after the game. "I’m not sure if anything triggered it. It’s just I didn’t want to be playing poorly anymore so I made the decision to go and change the way I was playing.”

As for the bouts with inconsistency, Stewart conceded that it was all part of the process.

“I think we all know that during the transition from high school to college everything is not going to go the way you wanted it to," she said. "If it did, then it would be too easy. I definitely knew about it but I obviously would have rather it didn’t happen.”

Coach Geno Auriemma added: “It’s important to get her some playing time. In the recent games she’s gotten more comfortable at both ends of the floor, she feels a lot better about herself now and hopefully that carries over into the weekend.”

Mosqueda-Lewis, who went through those experiences last year, has emerged as one of the best young players in the country. And it's not because she can light up the scoreboard but because her game is so well-rounded. In fact, when she was asked about the most important thing she does for the team, Mosqueda-Lewis offered this:

“It has to be rebounding because I have been trying so hard to get better at it and be consistent," she said. "Coach has been challenging Kelly Faris and me to go after every rebound. It’s kind of a challenge between us to see who can get more rebounds every game.”

The Huskies have two more regular-season games before the official start of the Big East Tournament, but ask anybody in Storrs and they'll tell you the playoffs begin on March 4 in the regular-season finale against Notre Dame.

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