Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, December 08, 2014

UConn goes big to post impressive win

At the time it seemed like just another game on the schedule, an opportunity to move forward from a disappointing performance.

However, the game against Creighton last month allowed the UConn coaching staff to do a little tinkering.

In the first two games of the season the trio of Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Kiah Stokes were not on the court at the same time. In the overtime loss to Stanford there were 11 occasions when Tuck was subbed in for Stokes or vice versa. However, with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis out with the flu the decision was made to start Tuck alongside Stewart and Stokes with rather impressive results. When Mosqueda-Lewis returned, she was obviously going back into the starting five so it was Stokes who was removed from the starting lineup.

Stewart, Stokes and Tuck played together for 12:33 against Creighton with solid but not spectacular results as UConn outscored Creighton 32-22 when they were out on the court together.

With Notre Dame playing without an injured Brianna Turner and UConn struggling defensive, Auriemma decided to go big. Stewart, Stokes and Tuck were put on the court together with 10:08 left in the first half and the Huskies were trailing 28-18. Over the next 5:54 UConn outscored Notre Dame 16-0 and outrebounded the Fighting Irish 12-6. Knowing a good thing when he sees it, Auriemma went back to the post-dominated lineup. He had Stewart, Stokes and Tuck out there with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis moving to the shooting guard position. Over the next 13:12 the only subs Auriemma made was at point guard as he alternated using Moriah Jefferson and Kia Nurse.

During the 19:06 that UConn had the three posts playing together the Huskies outscored ND 39-18 and held a 28-16 rebounding edge. I think it is safe to say that lineup will be seen again this season.

Speaking of Tuck, I noticed that she was the UConn player who was sent out to meet with the officials and Notre Dame captains before the game. In the post-game press conference Auriemma was asked who was emerging as the team leader and after playfully mentioning his coaching staff, Tuck was the first player he mentioned.

When I asked her about being a leader, Tuck made it clear that it is something that is important to her.

"When I came in as a freshmen, there were people who did that," Tuck said. "I may only be a redshirt sophomore but I have three years here so if I can start doing it now, next year and the year after I can help the freshmen out the way I was helped out as a freshmen."

Tuck was honored for her big game by being named the American Athletic Conference's player of the week.


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