HARTFORD — Breanna Stewart joined an elite group of UConn players on Monday night against the Kansas State Wildcats.
With 4:22 left to play in the third quarter, Stewart moved across the lane, making her way to the right corner. She received a pass from Moriah Jefferson in front of the UConn bench and fired a three without hesitation. Swish.
As the ball went through the net, Stewart became the ninth player in program history to score 2,000 points.
“When you have these type of milestone, you kind of just want to get it over with because people keep talking about it and that kind of thing,” Stewart said. “And I want to just play basketball, play with my team. I try to just play within the offense and shoot when I normally shoot.”
Stewart scored 25 points (8 of 15 shooting) to lead UConn over previously undefeated Kansas State, 97-57, in front of 8,369 at the XL Center.
Monday night also marked 30 years ago to the day that Geno Auriemma made his UConn head-coaching debut. On Nov. 23, 1985, the Huskies defeated Iona, 73-67, and since that day, there has been a lot of winning at UConn. There have been 919 wins and 10 national championships to be exact.
Most of those wins, especially in the past few season, have been in dominant fashion. Monday night was more of the same.
Kansas State (3-1) hung close with UConn (2-0) through the first media timeout of the first quarter. The Huskies led 16-10, but then a 14-0 run by the Huskies extended their lead to 30-13.
Led by sophomore Gabby Williams, the Huskies were able to reach their first double-digit lead with 28 seconds to play in the first quarter when she got free for a lay up to make it 24-13. The Huskies would never look back.
Williams recorded a double-double by halftime (14 points and 11 rebounds) as the Huskies led the Wildcats 44-27.
“She just changed the game, singlehandedly, on the defensive end and on the offensive boards,” Auriemma said. “I don’t know how you can compare her to anybody. We haven’t had anybody like that in a long time.”
UConn opened the second half with a 17-2 run to put the Wildcats away.
Kansas State attempted to stay in the game by shooting three-pointers, but they shot just 32 percent from behind the arc for the game.
Stewart scored 17 of her 25 points in the second half to help the Huskies pull away. The Huskies also made six three-pointers in the second half, compared to zero in the first.
Nine different players scored for the Huskies. Williams finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Morgan Tuck scored 15 and Jefferson added 14 and seven assists.
Kaylee Page and Kindred Wesemann each had 11 points for the Wildcats. Breanna Lewis scored 10.
Kansas State came out in a zone defense, so it was a bit of a different look than what the Huskies saw in their first game against Ohio State. However, Williams and the Huskies adjusted, and the sophomore set the tone for the Huskies in the first half.
“I think I was trying to be a little more aggressive offensively,” Williams said. “They played zone this time so it was about being smart. You have to be smart and make the right play.”
Stewart, the senior leader for this UConn team, put the game away in the second.
“The thing that I most appreciate about Stewie right now is that, in her own way, she has become very vocal,” Auriemma said. “When she has something to say, she says it and everybody listens. She’s trying to get better everyday. There’s not a day that goes by that she’s not trying o figure out a way to get better. It’s hard to get more stuff into a stat sheet that she gets.”
Along with her 25 points, Stewart also finished with eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals.