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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tuck, Stewart lead U.S. U-18 squad to title

UConn incoming freshmen Morgan Tuck and Breanna Stewart each had double doubles to lead the U.S. to a 71-47 win over Brazil in the championship game of the FIBA Americas U-18 Championship for Women.

Tuck, who finished as the tournament's leading scorer, had 15 points and 11 rebounds while Stewart finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots. Stewart was named the tournament's MVP. Moriah Jefferson, the third UConn incoming freshman on the squad, had four points, two rebounds, three assists, a steal and a blocked shot.

The U.S. got off to a slow start and trailed for a good portion of the first half. It was the 3-point shooting of Notre Dame incoming freshman Michaela Mabrey who got the U.S. rolling. Mabrey finished with 14 points.

Tuck finished the tournament averaging 17.8 points and 5 rebounds per game, She also led the tournament with a .542 field-goal percentage (edging out Stewart's mark of .540) and was second with a free-throw percentage of 80.6. Stewart's finished tied for second in scoring at 14 points per game, was third in rebounding (7.8), third in blocked shots (1.8) and fourth in 3-point percentage (.462). Stewart also averaged 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals. Jefferson averaged 5.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists (second among tourney players behind Mabrey's 4.8) and 1.6 steals per game. Mabrey and Jefferson also ranks first and second in assist/turnover ratio in the event putting up totals of 2.67 and 2.1 respectively.

Fitting Stewart's modest persona she said she wasn't expecting to win the MVP award.

"I was really surprised I got that, actually. It’s nice, but I’d rather have a gold medal."

Here are more quotes from Stewart and Tuck courtesy of USA Basketball

They came out very strong and aggressive and I think it rattled us a little bit, just because obviously in the first quarter we were struggling to score. But, I think once we regrouped and got ourselves composed, we realized that we could turn around and go right back at this team and that’s what we did.
Was it the team’s defense?
When Michaela, she hit some clutch threes to help us get into the momentum. Then, the defense, we really stepped it up and everything started flowing from there.

How does it feel to have another gold medal hung around your neck?It felt reall great. It’s always great to win games, but to come out here and win a gold medal, it’s unbelievable.
Does it make the gold even more sweet when you look at how hard you had to work tonight?
Yeah, it did, because we got down early in the game. I think it was 9-2, or something like that. It just showed that we do have the fight in us to come back in games, because all of our other games we were up most of the time. It definitely gave us a different look and gave us a little adversity to prove that we could push through.
There was no panic, it looked like you just settled down on defense. Was that your mindset?
Yeah, I think we just had to play our game. We were kind of rushing things, going too fast, taking too many jump shots. I think we just had to get back to our game, to how we played the past games, because they were successful.
What did Coach Meier talk to you about at halftime?
She definitely talked about running the plays on offense, just playing our game. Stop the dribble penetration, because that was something that was really hurting us on the defensive end. Basically, just keeping them out of the lane.

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