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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tuck, Stewart lead U.S. to gold-medal game

UConn incoming freshmen Morgan Tuck and Breanna Stewart combined for 42 points and 11 rebounds as the United States defeated Canada 95-46 in the semifinals of the FIBA Americas U18 Champuonship for Women.

Tuck (22 points) and Stewart (20 points, eight rebounds) were a combined 17 of 29 from the field as the U.S. advances to face Brazil in Sunday's championship game. Moriah Jefferson, the third UConn signee on the U.S. squad, has two points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocked shots.

The U.S. will play Brazil tonight at 8:15 in the championship match.

Here are quotes from Stewart and Tuck courtesy of USA Basketball

On her game tonight:I was just waiting to let the game come to me. I talked to coach before the game at shoot around and she was like ‘I have a feeling that tonight you’re just going to go off.’ Did I go off? I don’t know, but I was just doing what I do on the court and having fun while I was doing it.
Were you fueled a little bit by the loss to Canada in the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship?
Yeah, it definitely was fuel. Because obviously you don’t want to lose at these tournaments. At the U19s we lost to Canada. So, yeah we took that as fuel. We wanted to send a message to Canada that that was a fluke and it’s not going to happen again. I think we did that.
What do you need to work on prior to the gold medal game?
I think it’s just staying focused. We had a little point in the third quarter where we let up a little bit. We just have to stay focused and realize that we need to keep playing our game, no matter what the other team is doing. We need to keep doing what we do.
On the play of her teammates:
Everyone is contributing to the team in some way. Obviously we’re down guards, so me and Morgan are playing the three and swinging. Moriah and Lexie are doing a great job keeping the team under control. When Michaela comes in and plays point, she’s doing a tremendous job. She had 10 assists that one game. I think everyone’s playing really well.

Were you fueled a little bit by the loss to Canada in the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship?Yeah, a little bit. We talked about it a little bit earlier today during film that we lost to them last year at the 19s. We definitely wanted to come out and send a message. We definitely didn’t want to lose this game.
The team looks to be playing better and better each game. Are you getting a better feel for each other?
I think we’re getting a better feel for each other. We haven’t been together very long. So, as we’re playing games we’re just learning each other’s game a little better.
Do you think Canada was a little surprised with how strong you played from the start?
I’m not sure they were surprised, but I’m just glad that everyone was on the same page tonight and that we started off the game really well. Because sometimes we’ll start off a little slow, but I think we started off really well and played the game pretty well.
What were your goals heading into this game?
Our goals were to limit them on offense, definitely focus on our defense, because that’s what fuels our offense. We wanted to get transition points, points in the paint, outside-inside hitting shots. I think we did that pretty well. Of course we have to limit the threes that we’re giving up. That’s one thing we really have to work on for tomorrow.
On the play of her teammates:
A lot of people played well. Even if they didn’t necessarily score, they played good defense, made hustle plays. I think it was a great team effort.

Also, head coach Katie Meier (the head coach at Miami) was asked about the impact of Stewart and Tuck.

"I think it was the first game that those two together really took a game over. They do it in so many different ways. At the end of the game we had Stewie at the two and Tuck at the three, with Bashaara (Graves) and Candice (Agee) inside. We were just huge. They just say, ‘okay,’ and adjust and adapt and fill in for you. They did a fantastic job. Those two players are as special as they come. "

If anybody had questions about just how versatile Stewart is, well the fact that Meier had the confidence to play her at the shooting guard in this game speaks volumes.

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