In UConn women’s basketball’s Sweet Sixteen win over Iowa, Evina Westbrook just missed recording the sixth triple-double in program history by a single rebound. She put up 17 points, 10 assists and 9 boards to help lead the Huskies to the Elite Eight.
The stat line is Westbrook’s flashiest of the season — two off her season high in points and a new season high for dimes. But in reality, it was only a magnified version of what the redshirt junior has been doing all season long: everything and anything UConn needs.
Exactly what that is changes from game-to-game. Sometimes its knocking down a big three-pointer, like against Tennessee earlier this year. Other times it’s 14 rebounds, or 4 steals, maybe 3 blocks, and sometimes just a little of everything, including the intangibles that don’t always come through on the box score.
Her season stat line doesn’t exactly jump off the page at first. Westbrook averages 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. But there are fewer than 25 players in the country averaging over 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists while also making consistent scoring contributions. She’s one of a small group of players that do a bit of everything for their teams.
“Rebounds, assists, passing, defense, scoring — just anything we need her do, she’s gonna do it,” Paige Bueckers of Westbrook’s performance after the game. “She’s gonna do it to the best of her ability and when anybody’s slacking, she’s gonna pick it up for us.”
Against an elite Iowa offense, UConn needed Westbrook to help answer the Hawkeyes on the other end. She delivered with an efficient 7-9 performance from the floor. 11 of her points came in the first half — including three triples — to help UConn carry a lead into the locker room. Her six additional points in the second half brought her to 1,000 career points.
“E is a great player and a great teammate. She does the dirty work. She goes to the offensive boards, she gets steals, a defensive stopper as well. It’s not all about points with E,” Christyn Williams gushed postgame. “She’s a great leader off the floor. She’s the mom of our team. We love E to death. I’m so proud of her for getting her 1,000th point.”
Even in a game where Westbrook hit a scoring milestone, it still wasn’t all about points. She also added 10 assists, finishing the game with the dish on a third of her teammates’ buckets while on the floor.
Westbrook’s distribution didn’t just help the Huskies the secure the win, it served as a reminder of just how good she can be at running the point. While Westbrook spent much of her two seasons at Tennessee at the helm of their offense, her role has shifted at UConn. The Huskies have started four guards for most of the season — including point guards Bueckers and Nika Muhl — which slid her into more of a three/four in the lineup.
That has freed Westbrook up to fill whatever role she’s needed in during a given game, whether it’s scoring, passing, rebounding or just defending. She’s become an invaluable piece for UConn, one whose numbers sometimes don’t do her justice.
That wasn’t the case against Iowa, though. On Saturday, Westbrook’s versatility and willingness to do whatever the team needed from her was on full display as she helped left the Huskies to their 15th consecutive Elite Eight.