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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nice start for UConn freshmen in U-18 tournament

UConn freshman Morgan Tuck had 23 points (hitting 8 of 11 shots from the field and all seven of her free-throw attempts) while Breanna Stewart had 14 points and three blocked shots and Moriah Jefferson added eight points, five rebounds and four steals as the United States opened play in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women with a 99-26 win over the Dominican Republic.

Next up for the U.S. is a preliminary round game against Argentina. The U.S. wraps up play in Group A on Friday. The top two teams in each of the two group advance to the semifinals which begin on Saturday with the championship game set for Sunday at 8:15 p.m.

Each of the four semifinalists qualify for the 2013 FIBA World Championship. Here are quotes from Jefferson and Tuck courtesy of USA Basketball.

Moriah Jefferson
What was it like for you to play in your first international competition after missing out the last few summers?
It’s an honor. It’s great to be able to play with the teammates that I’m going to be with at (Connecticut), and then all these guys that I’ve grown up playing with. It’s just an honor to be able to wear USA across my chest.
On the USA’s slow start:
That’s just nerves. It’s the first game and everybody’s excited and trying to do too much. That’s all, but we got into our flow.
What did coach talk to you about between the first and second quarters?
Just to slow down and do what we know we can do. We trust each other, so don’t get rattled about anything.
How hard is it to maintain that intensity after being up by so much?Honestly, you have to be mentally prepared because if you go down, that’s when teams start coming back up. If we play a different team with a different score, we have to be mentally prepared the whole game. We just worked on things we’ve been trying to do in practice.

Morgan Tuck
On today’s game:
I felt pretty good. We started off a little slow. I think the nerves were there a little bit, but we picked it up as the game went on.
On her point production:
I think it was just that we play together as a team and running the floor, it just comes sometimes. When everyone’s playing as a team and you’re there to get some layups, they give it to you in the right spot. When you have people not being selfish and letting the game flow, I think that’s what happened.
How were you able to settle down and pull away in the second quarter?
We picked up our defense a little bit. We were playing a little unsure on defense, so we definitely tried to make our defense more intense and that helped with our offense.
On her 6-0 run in the second quarter:
The coaches said before the game that the posts need to dominate. So, that’s what I pretty much tried to do. I think that the guards were on board with that and really tried to get it into the post.
On the USA’s intensity level never dropping, despite the point differential:
We did that because we’ve been practicing for a couple of weeks now and everybody was ready for a game. Even if the team wasn’t as good as us, we definitely wanted to show that we are a great team and not play down to the competition.

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