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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Post players spread the wealth in latest UConn victory

It would be easy to look at the final numbers in tonight's win over Temple and focus on the 56-8 advantage in points in the paint or the fact that UConn outrebounded the Owls 58-32. However, I was struck by another aspect of the play of UConn's frontcourt players.

The quintet of Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Kiah Stokes and Gabby Williams combined for 16 of the Huskies' 23 assists and 13 of those went to fellow post players (I am counting Mosqueda-Lewis as a post since she seemingly spent as much time there as on the perimeter).

That was certainly by design. In recent practices UConn coach Geno Auriemma has been working with the starting frontcourt of Stewart, Tuck and Mosqueda-Lewis and instructing them not to be one-dimensional.

"I'll point to Stewie and Kaleena, you guys need to take turns don't every possession you be outside and you be inside," Auriemma said. "Let's mix it up a little bit so you can get yourself in a different spot, sometimes it is Tuck and Stewie or Tuck and Gabby but those three (Mosqueda-Lewis, Stewart and Tuck) specifically, we are trying to get them to as many spots on the floor as possible in as many games as possible. When we are on that is what makes playing against us very difficult because it is not so predictable that Tuck is going to go there, Stewie is going to go there."

Four of Stewart's assists set up Tuck layups while three of Tuck's assists were on baskets by Stewart.

"I think what happens is Morgan and myself are really aggressive offensive players and we know we can play inside/out," Stewart said. "Whenever she is in the low block or she is in the low block, we look for each other."

Tuck came into the season without a 20-point game but she has four in her last 10 games. With the way her fellow post players were setting her up, it appeared she might make a run at one of the highest scoring games in UConn's program history as she had 20 points by halftime. Tuck, who posts up as aggressively as any player on the team, scored at will in the lane against a small and inexperienced Temple squad.

"They were undersized and we knew that," Tuck said. "I think as posts we want to prove we can produce each game. He (criticizes) the posts sometimes as not being tough enough, not having a presence so I think we tried to do that.

"Stewie and Kaleena, they are great scorers so the fact that they can pass the ball really well I think that speaks a lot to them, it is helpful on the court that everybody can share the ball."

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