Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Tuck proving to be impact player at UConn

The majority of the attention heading into Saturday's highly-anticipated showdown between rivals UConn and Notre Dame was focused on national player of the year candidates Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd.

However, it wasn't long before Morgan Tuck made the ascension from reliable role player to unstoppable offensive dynamo.

Tuck scored 15 of her game-high 25 points in the second half . She had UConn's first four points of the second half and reminded a nationally-televised audience just how incredibly gifted she is.

"It is like Coach (Geno Auriemma) said that this is why we came to Connecticut, we came to Connecticut to (play in) a sold-out game on the road against a really good team so I think everybody who comes to Connecticut to play is looking for that, looking for the big games, the sold-out crowd in a tough environment," Tuck said.

Just in case people forgot what Tuck is capable of, it should be noted that on a team including Stewart, fellow UConn starter Moriah Jefferson, Notre Dame's Michaela Mabrey, Maryland's second-leading scorer Lexie Brown, Penn State's Candice Agee, Baylor's Alexis Prince and other Division I impact players, it was Tuck who was the leading scorer on the U.S. team which won the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women.

Tuck was not happy with her performance in a loss at Stanford last month and since UConn got back from California, UConn coach Geno Auriemma has been raving about Tuck's play in practice. He took it a step further in Saturday's post-game press conference saying that Tuck, just a redshirt sophomore, is the team's unquestioned leader.

"Stanford, it bad all over the place, in practice I have been trying to focus on reading the defense, going hard all the time and working on being in game shape," Tuck said. "I have been working on it the last couple of weeks and it is something we have to do all the time. We did it today in a big game and it shows that we can do this. Just having that confidence that we did it against a great team and we can do it against other teams. It is great not having to worry about how my body feels, that is something else I put out of my mind."

That has not been easy to do as Tuck has been dealing with knee issues since arriving at UConn. She saw her sophomore season end after playing just eight games as she underwent two knee procedures.

She is certainly playing at a high level now.

"She got the ball, we guarded her and she went by us," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "If she got the ball on the block, she went by us. We never planned on leaving her, we planned on guarding her the whole time but we just kind of crumbled when she drove the ball. she was the aggressor and we didn't match that."

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