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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jefferson spreading her wings as UConn's floor leader

The last two practices the media has been allowed to attend ended in similar fashion with sophomore point guard Moriah Jefferson making the plays necessary for UConn coach Geno Auriemma to utter "5-spot" which has been the Huskies' practice-ending drill for decades.

At the first of the aforementioned practices Jefferson calmly hit 3-pointers from the right corner on the final two possessions to bring an end to practice. Yesterday it was Jefferson setting up Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis for an elbow jumper. Few things make Jefferson any happier than to deliver the plays resulting in the end of practice.

"We can always feel when Coach is about to call 5-spot so we say 'do whatever you have to do to make a play and lets get out of here' because we know if we mess up it can be 10-20 more minutes so whatever I have to do to get practice over with when we have been out here for so long, I am going it."

After the win over Duke Auriemma went around the room and asked the players how well they played. When he got to Jefferson, who Auriemma thought might have played her best game at UConn, she responded with a lukewarm 'OK."

"Maybe it is a year and a half of me saying 'you just played OK' so that is the response when I ask her but I think she knows that she played well," Auriemma said.

I went straight to the source and asked Jefferson why she said she played just OK when she had a rock-solid effort.

"I was just going with what everybody else was saying as they were going around the room," Jefferson said. "I didn't want to be like 'I did this.' So I just kind of went with it."

NORTH BABLYON TO BE WELL REPRESENTED
Although their paths will not cross on the basketball court at tomorrow's Maggie Dixon, perhaps former North Babylon High School teammates Bria Hartley of UConn and Eugeneia McPherson of St. John's were cross paths inside Madison Square Garden and have a chance to catch up a little bit.

McPherson, who was a year ahead of Hartley at North Babylon, missed all but the first five games last season before tearing her ACL in a game against Hartford. She returned for a fifth season of eligibility and after missing the first seven games, she has averaged 12 points and 2 assists in the last two games including a team-high 15 points in a 64-51 loss to James Madison.

"I haven't really followed or seen her stats but I know she is back and I am happy she is back," Hartley said. "I thought we worked really well together when we were out there on the court. We were pretty good friends, now you don't really keep in contact as much but in high school we were pretty good friends, we were together all the time because we played basketball."

Some of her teammates like Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Morgan Tuck came out of programs that sent a host of players to Division I programs over the years, for a program like North Babylon there aren't as many major-college players come out of there.

" It is always a different scale," Hartley said. "Growing up in Long Island, I always thought we were the best players in the country but you are not because it is a whole other scale but we were players from the small town and we were able to contend and compete with some of the best players in the country. Coming from North Babylon it is awesome."

McPherson and St. John's will face Texas A&M at 11 a.m. followed by the UConn/Cal game at 1:30 p.m.


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