Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Offensive mindset serving UConn's Jefferson well

Plenty of things are near the top of the basketball priority list for UConn junior guard Moriah Jefferson. However, being the Huskies' leading scorer in not among them.

With a second-half scoring explosion against Duke, Jefferson finished with 18 points and was the leading scorer in Monday's 83-52 win. That followed up Jefferson scoring a game-high and career-high 24 points in a win over DePaul. It marked the first time in her time at UConn that she was the Huskies' top scorer in back to back games. Jefferson greeted that accomplishment with an indifferent yawn.

"It is not about me scoring as much, it is just being aggressive is really important," Jefferson said. "I have to keep that up. anytime I can do that, I am definitely going to do that."

Jefferson did not do that in the first half, attempting one field goal which she made (actually she attempted two shots but was fouled by Kendall Cooper on the other one so it did not go down as an official shot). The offense in the first half was provided mostly by the trio of Breanna Stewart, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Morgan Tuck as they had 24 of the Huskies' 33 points and 23 of the 30 field-goal attempts. With Jefferson and Kia Nurse combining to go 7 of 11 from the floor including 4 of 7 from 3-point range, UConn's offense was so much more effective.
"Our ball movement was good. In the first half our ball movement was good but we just didn't knock down as many 3s," Jefferson said. "I happened to be open on a couple of them so I just shot it and they went in."

Jefferson had a pair of 3-pointers in the first 61 seconds of the second half. The second one gave the Huskies a double-digit lead and Duke would not get closer than 11 points the rest of the way.

Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said giving Jefferson uncontested 3-pointers (as some teams have been known to do) was not a part of the game plan.

"Her first made 3 was so wide open my grandmother could have made it," McCallie said after the game. "Lack of intensity on defense on our part but I don't want to take anything away (from Jefferson), she played an excellent second half and she came on strong. We certainly had her tagged as a shooter, she was not supposed to be open."

McCallie's response left me little choice but to inquire about the shooting range of McCallie's grandmother. So was she a good shooter?

"Yes, yes she was."

So is Jefferson. During her sophomore and junior seasons Jefferson is 48 of 114 from 3-point range. The 3-point shooting percentage of 42.1 would be fourth on the Huskies' career list trailing only Sue Bird, Wendy Davis and current Husky Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

"She is being aggressive all the time on the court and not just thinking pass but thinking 'score, shoot the ball.' I tell her all the time 'shoot the ball, if I was open I would just shoot it,'" Stewart said. "She did that and now teams are going to have to respect her."

With the UConn men's basketball team playing Temple today at 1, the women's game will be on WTIC 96.5 FM rather than the normal radio home of WTIC-1080. The game will also be televised by SNY.

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