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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

UConn's Tuck takes step forward

The final line of two points and three rebounds in 16 minutes in Wednesday's win over Central Florida doesn't fully indicate how much Morgan Tuck struggled  in her fifth game back after undergoing knee surgery.

Tuck, normally so effective around the basket, struggled to even graze the rim on shots in the lane. Tuck missed four layups  (one didn't even get out of her hands before it was blocked by Stephanie Taylor) and two 3-point attempts and her only points came on a pair of free throws. She did manage three rebounds but did not have an assist, steal or block.

Tuck was very disappointed in her performance but she also resisted the temptation to dwell on her mistakes and when the team returned to practice on Friday, she took even the most basic of shooting drills as being the most important work she could do.

"I didn't make a field goal the last game so when I got to practice and at shoot around, I really focused on making every shot, every layup," Tuck said. "I missed two wide open layups (against Memphis) but you just have to adjust I couldn't dwell on the last game because I just would have played how I did in the last game. I tried to put in the past and made sure I had a harder focus when I was finishing inside."

The only people more surprised that Tuck was missing layups may have been her teammates.

"I think Tuck missed a fair amount of layups and that is all mental because I remember when we first met Morgan and we said 'Morgan doesn't miss layups." UConn senior guard Bria Hartley said. "It is just mental and making sure you are ready to play each game."

So how did Tuck shake off her poor performance against Central Florida with just one day of practice?

"I was trying to come in confident and tying not to think about anything but being in the moment so I tried not to think of all the missed layups I had and make sure I make the next one," Tuck said. "The last game was a struggle. I wasn't feeling too good about myself and as a team we didn't play very well but today we had some moments when we didn't play very well but as a collective unit we played a lot better than we did in the last couple of games."

The results were evident as she eight points (making 4 of 7 shots), four rebounds, one steal and one block in 16 minutes in a 90-49 win over Memphis on Saturday.

"She has struggled a little bit to get back into a routine and we are all looking for that, we are all looking for a routine," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "It is good to get some playing time under her belt, she wants to get it all back too quickly but I was happy for her. I thought she did a good job."



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