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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, December 20, 2013

UConn's Tuck looks to move forward from Duke game

For more than a month Morgan Tuck patiently waited for her chance to get back on the court at UConn are undergoing surgery to clean up some things in her right knee. It's safe to say that the nine-minute performance against Duke wasn't quite the welcome back moment she was looking for.

Tuck did not attempt a shot nor did she pull down a rebound in the 83-61 UConn victory. The only statistics of note were one assist and two turnovers.

"During the Duke game I didn't do anything, I was just out there and that is why I didn't play a lot," Tuck said. "I didn't hurt but I didn't help so you can't expect to play. Coming into the game on Sunday, I just want to contribute in some way. I am not saying I have to score but (grab) rebounds, (defensive) stops or anything I can contribute that keeps me on the floor.

"I was really excited for the game, I wish I would have done better but we came out as a team and really played well so it is great to finally get into the game and not just be out there watching.."

Following the Duke game UConn coach Geno Auriemma said he was concerned about how a cerebral player like Tuck would react after missing eight straight games and only having a limited amount of practice time.

Following Friday's practice he said that every player is different in how they respond following time away from the court.

"Not everybody comes back in their first game back and have the kind of game that K (Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis) had and Kaleena's personality is a little bit different from Morgan's but I happy we are playing again on Sunday rather than waiting seven or eight days because she is anxious to get out on the court and play and I am anxious to see her play as well.

"The Stanford game is a perfect example of how Morgan can help, we were not exactly lighting it up on offense, she comes in and bangs in two 3's and if you have a post player that can come in off the bench and do that, you have Kiah Stokes coming off the bench that can play defense and rebound and then you have another post player coming off the bench that can score a lot of ways. It is all coming together."

With her high school coach Tony Smith not only moving from Bolingbrook (Ill.) High to rival Homewood-Flossmoor and nearly pulling off the upset of Mater Dei (the alma mater of Mosqueda-Lewis) in day one of the Nike Tournament of Champions, I got Tuck's take on seeing her high school coach switching up schools.

"It is weird," Tuck said. "I know when I was home this summer, I would go and practice with him just to stay in shape and it was weird going to Homewood-Flossmoor which is our in-conference rival. I understand you want to move onto bigger and better things. I guess it is not as bad if he would have moved when I was
there it would have been more of an issue but I am happy for him, I am glad he is advancing in his career
and I wish him the best. I still hope Bolingbrook does well because it is my old school but I hope he does

"He helped a lot I have known him since seventh grade and he was encouraging and then freshman year he was on me the most anybody has ever been on me in my life and I think he knew how to push me and pushed me to be a better player. If he wasn't there I don't think I would be here honestly."

Auriemma has known Cal coach Lindsay Gottleib since she was in high school and has tremendous respect for her and the job she has done at Cal. But that being said, there aren't any future UConn/Cal games being planned.

"I think they (UConn officials) have been talking to UCLA and if you go to the Bay Area and play Stanford, I don't know unless you are going to do it (with) two games in one trip, I don't know if you would go out there twice to the same region but who knows, that is the kind of school that I like to play against because they value the same things that we value and I am anxious to see how they do going forward."

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