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Breanna in Springfield

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Phil

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I had the pleasure of watching Breanna Stewart play last evening. I've heard the hype, and seen the numbers; that's a lot to live up to.

When you hear that much hype, you almost except her to come out the locker room wearing a cape, and score the first 20 points of the game literally flying through the air.

She won the first tip, naturally, but she didn't post up take a pass and slam dunk the ball. She set up, and she passed to a teammate, who drained the shot.

What's up with this I thought, I didn't come here to watch her teammates play, I came here to see what Breanna can do.

That selfish thought quickly vanished, as I came to realize I was seeing what Breanna could do. The isn't a"feed me the ball and watch me try to score" type of player, she's a basketball team player. She gets more than her share of points because she is, well, it starts at being 6' 4" but it doesn't end there, it is because she is so skilled. More of her shots go in, and when the ball comes off the backboard, she is more than likely to take it.

I knew some things coming in - she could score, and block, and she was tall. Those were all easily confirmed, but there was so much more, something said in the articles, but you still want to see it to believe it.

I had heard she could play all positions. She won't have any need to play point guard for UConn, but sometimes a center gets the ball in a press and needs to dribble somewhere to make the next move. I don't know about you. but whenever I see a center coming up the floor with the ball, my first instinct is "pass it to someone else". I had that thought, but it went away after watching Stewart. On several occasions, and not just forced by circumstances, Stewart would take the in bounds pass and bring the ball the length of the floor. She is very comfortable doing so, and heaven help the team that sags five on four trying to intercept the inevitable pass to set up a play. She can shoot form the top of the key if you don't come out on her, and she might just shoot over you if you do.

She actually jumps. Many 6'4" high school centers don't have to jump to shoot over defenders, or reach for a rebound. She does get off the ground. Maybe because she's had the experience with U16, U17, U19 and Pan American teams, and the national tournaments the team has played, so she has faced opposition who were tall and strong.

She hits the floor a little more than makes me comfortable - maybe she wants to replace Tiff in that category. Late in the third quarter, she drove to the basket and went down in a heap, ending with her head hitting a chair occupied by a videographer. She came up grimacing, ended up leaving the game, and never returned (which may have been as much the score as the injury). I think she's fine, but she isn't afraid to hit the deck.

Blake told me she had 22 points 15 rebounds and 9 blocks. One pair of blocks was interesting, she elevated, and blocked the shot back into the hands of the offensive player, who went up and shot again. And got blocked again.

It won't surprise anyone that she won the MVP trophy for the game.
 

alexrgct

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Breanna is going to come in next year and have an immediate impact. Because Geno is stubborn about not starting freshmen and because they don't like to warm Caroline up and then sit her, it may be that she doesn't start, but she will play big-time minutes. I expect her to be part of our crunch-time lineup, and she will make all four of the other girls on the floor with her better. Stef will have another big to take focus away from her, Kelly can match up with smaller players as necessary, and Bria and KML will have more space to operate. And she's going to be able to do a lot of things herself. Very much looking forward to it. The rest of WCBB? Maybe not as much.
 

Ozzie Nelson

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I had the pleasure of watching Breanna Stewart play last evening. I've heard the hype, and seen the numbers; that's a lot to live up to.

When you hear that much hype, you almost except her to come out the locker room wearing a cape, and score the first 20 points of the game literally flying through the air.

She won the first tip, naturally, but she didn't post up take a pass and slam dunk the ball. She set up, and she passed to a teammate, who drained the shot.

What's up with this I thought, I didn't come here to watch her teammates play, I came here to see what Breanna can do.

That selfish thought quickly vanished, as I came to realize I was seeing what Breanna could do. The isn't a"feed me the ball and watch me try to score" type of player, she's a basketball team player. She gets more than her share of points because she is, well, it starts at being 6' 4" but it doesn't end there, it is because she is so skilled. More of her shots go in, and when the ball comes off the backboard, she is more than likely to take it.

I knew some things coming in - she could score, and block, and she was tall. Those were all easily confirmed, but there was so much more, something said in the articles, but you still want to see it to believe it.

I had heard she could play all positions. She won't have any need to play point guard for UConn, but sometimes a center gets the ball in a press and needs to dribble somewhere to make the next move. I don't know about you. but whenever I see a center coming up the floor with the ball, my first instinct is "pass it to someone else". I had that thought, but it went away after watching Stewart. On several occasions, and not just forced by circumstances, Stewart would take the in bounds pass and bring the ball the length of the floor. She is very comfortable doing so, and heaven help the team that sags five on four trying to intercept the inevitable pass to set up a play. She can shoot form the top of the key if you don't come out on her, and she might just shoot over you if you do.

She actually jumps. Many 6'4" high school centers don't have to jump to shoot over defenders, or reach for a rebound. She does get off the ground. Maybe because she's had the experience with U16, U17, U19 and Pan American teams, and the national tournaments the team has played, so she has faced opposition who were tall and strong.

She hits the floor a little more than makes me comfortable - maybe she wants to replace Tiff in that category. Late in the third quarter, she drove to the basket and went down in a heap, ending with her head hitting a chair occupied by a videographer. She came up grimacing, ended up leaving the game, and never returned (which may have been as much the score as the injury). I think she's fine, but she isn't afraid to hit the deck.

Blake told me she had 22 points 15 rebounds and 9 blocks. One pair of blocks was interesting, she elevated, and blocked the shot back into the hands of the offensive player, who went up and shot again. And got blocked again.

It won't surprise anyone that she won the MVP trophy for the game.

Great post Phil...
 

Blakeon18

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It was a delightful evening...in part due to some Boneyarders at the game....but in truth mostly thanks to Breanna. Solid crowd....seats around 3,000....maybe 2,500 there. I hope the director of the event [Greg Procino] feels that is an incentive for future featured girls' games involving UConn-related kids.

Anyway: 22 'quiet' points in 23 minutes. She hit her head on the floor late in the 3rd quarter and was taken out and never came back. Seemed fine on the sidelines.
She probably would have only played a minute or two in the 4th anyway. I had her 7-14 from the floor and 6 of 7 from the line. Two for three from three-land.
About 14 boards and 9 blocks...a few assists.

She is very slender...runs gracefully....very smooth. Long strides without the ball and long strides when dribbling. She has a great handle for her size. She will be one excellent complementary ball-handler for us. Pressy/pushy teams will lead to us shooting lay-ups all night long. Bring that Rutgers 55 defense on!

She missed a couple of bunnies she normally makes....not her sharpest shooting night. I saw her play last March and thought her face-up game from medium range was a work in progress. Well....watching her in warm-ups and in the game 'progress' has been made. She hit very well from trey-land....nice motion....nice arc....looked good....real good. Jump hook definitely a part of her game. She looks slightly more comfortable facing the basket than posting up....but her strictly center skills are fine in the low post.

Unselfish....good passer. Her teammates were playing well for the first three quarters....score was 56-13. When she left it was a messy taffy-pull....final was 60-20. She is more aggressive on defense than offense...looks to block anything close to her....quick jumper...maybe not explosive but quick. Not overly demonstrative on the court....kind of a cool cucumber approach for the most part.

Very entertaining to watch due to her unique combo of height, skills and athleticism. Wide-bodies will try to shove her around but her quickness and overall activity will make that hard to do.

West Springfield had no height to challenge her....just multiple bodies. I hear their remaining schedule doesn't have a ton of good teams in their area coming up. Maybe a meeting down the road in the state tourney with Nazareth of NYC...undefeated national top 10....Apache's team.

Note West Springfield was 8-0 coming into this game. 56-13 at the 3 quarter pole. That says something about good local teams and national teams. CTK in the later game is down this year.....now they are 4-6 after beating local East Longmeadow 64-33. EL is now 6-2. More evidence of the disparity between good local and national level teams. With no Breanna....WSH and Cicero looked about even. Shots that her teammates were making for 3 quarters were astray when she wasn't on the floor.

She is one major talent with more upside to come. We are one lucky fan base.
 

pap49cba

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Thanks Blake. I agree that with her size, wingspan & ball handling ability she is going to be a press destroyer.
 

Phil

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I just added her picture, and a pic of the trophy to Breanna Stewart.

(When I glanced through this yesterday, I thought I saw a couple typos, but I cannot find them now, so I'd be grateful if someone were to check for typos and let me know.)
 

MilfordHusky

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Alex is right. Fans and students of the game will love her. To opposing teams, she will be The Big Dread.
 
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Watching on the stream, she reminded me somewhat of Pedersen of Stanford when she was a frosh, with the one major difference that Stewart has much better hops.

One thing that makes her defense so effective is that she holds off committing to the block until the very last possible instant, but then is able to maintain verticality when she does. That a highly effective combination, and outside the skill set of many otherwise quite good post players.

It's unfortunate that Theobald of West Springfield was having a terrible shooting night. She showed Div I skills in the rest of her game and should do quite well at BU.
 

pap49cba

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jaltavilla John Altavilla

Breanna Stewart was down near the #UConnwomen locker room with her parents talking to Geno and Chris Dailey after the Villanova game
 
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