Stokes triple-double leads Huskies over East Carolina 87-32
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Kiah Stokes watched Stefanie Dolson put up a triple-double a little over a year ago, and told her friend she was going to get one of her own before leaving UConn.
Stokes had 10 points, 11 rebounds and a school-record 10 blocked shots Wednesday to help the defending national champions to an 87-32 rout of East Carolina.
It was the fourth triple-double in school history. Both Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis did it last season.
“Stef got hers with assists and I remember talking to her after and saying, ‘I’m going to get mine but with blocks instead,’ kind of joking around,” the 6-foot-3 senior center said. “Now that it’s actually happened, it’s pretty awesome.”
Morgan Tuck scored 17 points as UConn (19-1, 9-0 American) as defending national champions won for the 27th straight time against an American Athletic Conference opponent.
Breanna Stewart added 14 points and a career high five steals and three other players scored in double figures for the Huskies, who have beaten their conference foes by an average of 50 points a game this season.
Jada Payne had 13 points to lead East Carolina (13-8, 4-6), which has now lost two in a row after a four-game winning streak.
The win is the 898th for UConn head coach Geno Auriemma in his 30-year Hall-of-Fame career.
Stokes now has 93 blocks this season and is on pace to break Rebecca Lobo’s team single-season record of 131.
“She’s in a defensive mindset right now that I think very few players can get to that comfort level where they know that they can take chances and they can impact any shot that they want to impact,” Auriemma said.
The Huskies dominated down low, outscoring ECU 66-18 in the paint and outrebounding the Pirates 49-29.
Moriah Jefferson, Gabby Williams and Kia Nurse each had 11 points for UConn.
The only scare for the Huskies came when Jefferson capped a 16-0 first-half spurt with a driving layup and crashed hard into the basket support. She stayed down while ECU scored on the other end and had to be helped off the court. But she came back into the game after icing her back for less than 3 minutes.
She said the hit just aggravated a back problem she had been dealing with all season, but was nothing serious.
The Huskies held the Pirates to just one basket over the last nine minutes of the half and led 47-18 at the break.
“Our choices were very poor, and that resulted in baskets for the other side,” said East Carolina coach Heather Macy.
UConn then scored the first eight points of the second half and ran away from the Pirates.
Auriemma is on target to get win No. 900 against Cincinnati next Tuesday in Hartford. That would tie him with former Texas coach Jody Conradt for fifth place all time. It took her 38 years to reach the mark. Auriemma still needs 200 wins to catch former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.
The Huskies have won 18 straight since losing at Stanford in November, and have now won 66 of their last 67 games.
UConn: The Huskies have blocked at least 10 shots in eight games this season. The season high came in November, which they rejected 19 shots from Vanderbilt. ... Stokes 10 blocks broke the team record of nine previously held by Lobo, Kelly Schumacher and Tina Charles.
East Carolina: The Pirates came into the game ranked ninth in Division I in steals, averaging more than 12 per game. They had eight against the Huskies, but turned the ball over 19 times.
TRIPLE DOUBLES. UConn’s first triple-double was recorded by Laura Lishness, a 6-foot guard, who had 14 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists against Providence in the 1989 Big East tournament final. Dolson had 26 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists against Oregon last season and Mosqueda-Lewis had 20 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and had 10 assists against Saint Joseph’s in the NCAA tournament.
UConn: The Huskies visit Temple and former UConn assistant coach Tonya Cardoza on Sunday.
East Carolina: The Pirates travel to New Orleans to face Tulane on Saturday.