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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Time with family just what UConn's Jefferson needed

Chances are when Moriah Jefferson is back home in Texas you can find her wherever there are basketball games to be played.

However, when she headed to the Dallas area for Christmas basketball was not on her itinerary.

Coming off a forgettable three-game stretch, UConn's starting point guard discovered that some quality time with family was just what she needed to getting back to playing aggressively and without fear.

"The break going home and seeing my family kind of relieved a lot of unnecessary, I wouldn't say stress, but tension," Jefferson said after scoring a career-high 24 points in Saturday's win over SMU. "I was able to go home and come back to feeling good about everything.

"I kind of just got away from it, played with the nieces all day. It was really good for me. I am really big on family so sometimes getting that break and seeing them it is really good for me."

She was still chuckling a couple days later when she recalls the reaction of her 1 and 2 year old nieces when she bought them a copy of "Frozen."

"I got them Frozen and they were going around the house going crazy," Jefferson said.

Speaking of playing with no worries, Jefferson downplayed the protective sleeve she has been wearing on her right leg.

"Making sure it doesn't get any worse," Jefferson said. "If I didn't wear it, I wouldn't die."

One thing that was a big deal to Jefferson was an aggressive mindset. In the last three games leading into the SMU contest she was 5 of 24 from the field and when she took a shot there was never a sense that it was going in. There was a much different vibe surrounding Jefferson on Saturday.

"For me it is about coming out with the mindset of playing hard and giving 100 percent effort," Jefferson said. "Kaleena (Mosqueda-Lewis) was saying something to me before the game about steals and how she was ahead of me, I wanted to make sure I came out this game and I was ahead of her.

"I was being more aggressive taking open shots. I really didn't change much, I really tried to come out and be aggressive. Once you get into a funk you can't let yourself stay in it and that is kind of what happened. I just happened to hit my first couple of shots and after that it felt like I was back in the game."

In the take it for what it is worth department, after 10 games as a freshman Bria Hartley had 137 points. Yesterday was Kia Nurse's 10th game at UConn and she also has 137 points.

Obviously they are playing with different teammates and against different teams but it is interesting to compare stats and see how the points are being accounted for.

First of all, Hartley played five more minutes per game than Nurse and attempted 15 more shots. Nurse has the edge is FG percentage (57.1 to 49.5) and assist/turnover ratio (38/15 for Nurse, 29/19 for Hartley). Hartley attempted 12 more 3-pointers and made four more. The biggest difference is at the free-throw line as Nurse has attempted nearly twice as many foul shots but she is shooting just 64 percent from the line while Hartley was at a sizzling 86.4 percent at this point in her career.

I did some research on best scoring starts through 10 games but forget to include Jen Rizzotti on the list. Although I know Rizzotti had 96 points in her first eight games thanks to some previous research I did, I don't have her 10-game numbers. But here are the numbers of some prominent UConn stars both then and now.

Breanna Stewart (12-13)                169Maya Moore (07-08)                      165
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (11-12) 158Rebecca Lobo (91-92)                    143
Bria Hartley (10-11)                       137
Kia Nurse (14-15)                          137Nykesha Sales (94-95)                   134
Svet Abrosimova (97-98)               131
Shea Ralph (96-97)                         130

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Blogger James Kerwin said...

I would have bet my shirt that Sveta was heads and shoulders above Brianna in points in 10 games. She was as smooth as Shea was tough.
Happy for Uconn and Happy for Jefferson going home and R^Ring. She need to do more of that. It looks like she has issues with Both legs.
Nurse--is EVERYONE's favorite WBB Connecticut newbie.
Courtney Ekmark hopefully shall make an appearance and impact in the ECU game.
Gabby Williams is progressing well hope she impactsthe Dukies as much as she's impacted ND and SMU .
Nice story, nice comparisons, thank you Jim--this stuff is appreciated.

2:11 PM 

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