Stewart helps No. 1 UConn women rout Cal 80-47

Geno Auriemma has coached some of women’s basketball’s best

players at UConn and few have impressed him like Breanna

Stewart.

The sensational sophomore matched her career high with 29 points

to lift No. 1 Connecticut to an 80-47 rout of No. 21 California on

Sunday in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.

”We never had anyone like her,” Auriemma said of his young

star. ”We’ve had some of the greatest players ever to play college

basketball and never had anyone like her. Maya Moore was unique,

Diana Taurasi was unique. We’ve never had anybody that has the

God-given talent that Breanna has.”

Stewart had 10 rebounds for the Huskies (12-0), who were coming

off a rout of No. 2 Duke on Tuesday night.

Just as in that game, Stewart made her presence felt early and

often. She had 13 of the Huskies’ first 16 points and finished the

half with 21 – one more than Cal had at that point.

”We talked about getting her 20 shots every game and I’ve never

done that with any other player,” Auriemma said. ”The ball finds

great players.”

UConn led by 20 at halftime and Cal (7-3) could get no closer in

the second half thanks to Stewart and a stingy Huskies defense.

The 6-foot-5 Stewart left the game for good with over 12 minutes

left and her team up 30 points.

”I had a chance to be part of USA Basketball so I got to see

her close up this summer,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said.

”There is nothing that Breanna Stewart can’t do. Her skill set at

that size is more impressive then what I saw on film already. She’s

going to be in an Olympic jersey someday. To do that as a sophomore

in college and on a big stage, you can’t take those types of

performances for granted.”

Cal was coming off the most successful season in school history

with a trip to the Final Four last April.

The Golden Bears had no answer for Stewart. Then again few teams

have this season.

Stewart made an array of jumpers, hook shots and drives. UConn

led 12-9 midway through the first half before scoring 11 straight

points. Stewart, who was 12 of 18 from the field, had the first

four points in that burst.

”I thought my first game at the Garden was a lot of fun,”

Stewart said. ”The first 5, 10 minutes was ugly as a team, but

once we settled down it made it a lot of fun for our team.”

Cal closed to 29-16 on Brittany Boyd’s layup with 3:51 left in

the first half, but could get no closer. Stewart’s layup with 2

seconds left in the opening half made it 40-20.

Boyd, Cal’s star guard, finished with nine points, but was 3 for

23 from the field. She have seven rebounds and five assists.

”I take full blame on that,” Boyd said of her shooting. ”I

got to finish better as 3 for 23 is unacceptable.”

Aliyyah Handford scored 27 points, including a layup with 2

seconds left, to help St. John’s beat Texas A&M 72-70 in the

first game of the doubleheader which honors the late Army women’s

basketball coach. Dixon died in April 2006 of arrhythmia, probably

caused by an enlarged heart. Her death came three weeks after her

first season as a head coach, when she led Army to its first NCAA

berth.

This was UConn’s third appearance in the Maggie Dixon Classic.

The Huskies met Ohio State in 2010 Classic and beat the Buckeyes to

match UCLA’s vaunted 88-game winning streak. Connecticut went on to

win a record 90 consecutive games before losing at Stanford. UConn

also beat Penn State in 2008.

The inaugural Maggie Dixon Classic was held at Army in 2006 – a

men’s and women’s doubleheader. The Pittsburgh men, coached by

Maggie’s brother Jamie, beat Western Michigan, and Ohio State

routed Army. The last seven Classics have been played at Madison

Square Garden.

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