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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, December 05, 2014

UConn's Jefferson rediscovering her swagger in time for Notre Dame game

Moriah Jefferson was blissfully unaware of the fact that she has a mere six points, is 3 of 15 from the field and has almost as many turnovers as assists in five career games against Notre Dame.

However, she is fully aware that the last time the Huskies played a ranked team this season, it was one of two games this season that she failed to score in double figures. The ultra competitive Jefferson was rather frustrated at her play on both ends of the floor in the overtime loss to Stanford. As the floor leader of the two-time defending national champions, she not only took the loss to the Cardinal extremely hard but also was perturbed at the lack of impact she had in the 36 minutes she played in the game.

"I am ready to put that Stanford game behind," Jefferson said. "I need to be aggressive, I know I have a lot to prove and I want to leave on a good note."

There has been an adjustment period for all of UConn's returning players following the graduation of All-Americans Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley. Jefferson might have been impacted the most. There was a comfort level knowing she had the steady Hartley next to her in the backcourt and the fact that Dolson and Hartley were two of the best leaders in UConn women's basketball history kept

Jefferson from having to handle the bulk of the leadership.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma believes that Jefferson was caught in the middle of when to look for her own shot and when to create for her teammates when the season began.

"It is hard when you are so used to having somebody else there," Auriemma said. "It is a huge adjustment but I think with every game she is getting more confident, she is getting more assertive. The issue we had with Moriah early on is 'should I or shouldn't I?' Now there is much less hesitation. I have tremendous confidence in her. I know she can make any play that needs to be made and we probably don't give her enough opportunities to make some plays just by giving her the ball and say get the hell out of the way. She makes them in practice, she is growing from all of those things."

Jefferson's best game came the last time out against Green Bay. It was so much more than her netting a career-high 19 points but she aggressively pushed the ball up the court, attacked the basket to set up shots for herself and her teammates.

"I think I took too long to do that and I was passive," Jefferson said. "I want to come out and be aggressive. It is a different role and I don't have Bria behind me anymore so I have to come in and make it up.
"It is never how I have ever played. I am never willing to be passive, I want to get my teammates the ball whenever I am open. Any time I have a lane of anytime I can, I need to put it up."

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