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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

UConn's Stewart, Tuck led U.S. to Lanzarote title

UConn rising sophomores Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck had 11 and 10 points respectively and pulled down five rebounds each as the United States U-19 team defeated Canada 69-49 to win the Lanzarote International Invitational title.

UConn's Moriah Jefferson added two points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals and UConn Class of 2014 recruiting target A'ja Wilson had six points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Stewart was the leading scorer for the U.S., averaging 10.3 points and also had a team-high four blocked shots while averaging 5.3 rebounds per game. Tuck averaged 9.7 points and 3.3 rebounds while Jefferson averaged 3.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and led the team with nine assists in wins over Australia, Spain and Canada.

Morgan Tuck scored in double figures in two of the three games
Wilson led the U.S. in rebounding (7.3 per game) and was the fourth-leading scorer (8.3).

Former UConn recruiting target Linnae Harper, who is an incoming freshman at Kentucky, averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds in the tournament.

The U.S. heads to Lithuania and will open play in the FIBA U-19 World Championship for Women against host Lithuania on Thursday.

Here are quotes from Stewart and Tuck courtesy of the folks from USA Basketball.

You came out with some pressure defense, is that going to be one of the keys to this team?
I definitely think it’s going to be one of the keys. We want to come out with a strong intensity and just play well. Having a veteran lineup, coming out and playing strong like that, it really makes it easier for the second lineup to come in and play just like that.

What do you think about the USA’s second wave?
I think it’s great. I think we, the first lineup gets up into them and tries to start the game off strong, but then they come in and they’re just as strong. It just helps pull out the win.

Is that how you were able to pull away from Canada, with the second wave having just as much intensity?
Yeah, I think it’s defense and having a bench that’s so deep. You can change the position. You can have so many different lineups. You have a team like that, it’s pretty easy for the coach to create something that’s going to disrupt other teams.

How is the team chemistry right now?
Right now I think the team chemistry is good. These three days that we’ve had are very helpful going into Lithuania. It helps the new people get more accustomed to the international type of play and we’re going to take it and move forward with it.

What was the game plan against Canada?
We wanted to come out and show that we’re a really good team. Coach Meier really stressed that the focus of the game was to be mentally focused. We kind of didn’t do that as well as we should have in the first two games, so I think we were trying to just go out there and disrupt (Jamie Weisner), because she was their best player, but we kind of let (Emily Potter) get what she wanted.

On the USA’s pressure defense:
I think we did pretty good. We let it up a little bit in the middle of the game, but we put another group in that really picked it up. I think when we realize that when we play defense like that, how we started and how we ended, then we can beat any team.

What have you learned about this team throughout the tournament?
We learned people who really step up in pressure situations and the people who we can really count on. Now we’re getting more chemistry because we’re in actual games and it’s the feel of a real game. I think we’re feeling really good going into Lithuania.

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