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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Few introductions needed between UConn and Notre Dame

This is the fifth season in a row that UConn and Notre Dame are meeting in the Final Four including the second straight national-championship game showdown. However, the history for many of the main figures in tonight's title game did not begin when they headed to college.

Both UConn's Morgan Tuck and Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd have vivid recollections of going head to head in the McDonald's Shootout in 2012. Tuck finished with 26 points as her Bolingbrook team emerged with a 67-36 victory,

"They really pumped it up," Tuck said. "A lot of people were there who don't necessarily come to a lot of high school girls basketball games but everybody was there because they wanted to see me and her play against each other. I think it is a great atmosphere."

Loyd finished with 23 points for Niles West.

"Niles West, we weren't a highly rated team and Bolingbrook was ranked nationally so we went to this tournament," Loyd said. "It might have been sold out and that was big for any team. It was a good battle and we lost but it was good for our team to play that kind of game going into playoffs.

"Morgan, I've always had so much respect for her game. We have played so many times  in AAU, she has always had that versatile game. She hasn't gotten all the respect she really deserves and she is now trying to get it. She can do it all, she is a problem to guard because she is so versatile."

Speaking of unforgettable high school showdowns, seniors Kiah Stokes of UConn and Markisha Wright of Notre Dame met in a game when the stakes were a little higher.

Stokes had 20 points, 18 rebounds and six blocked shots as Linn-Mar defeated Wright's Des Moines East squad 38-35 in the 2010 Iowa 4A championship game.

 "I will never forget that because it was basically me and her going at it,' Stokes said. "It is definitely going to be different but I wanted to make sure that my team got the win.

"At the time I didn't think it was that big of a deal but looking back now it is pretty incredible and I am glad to be a part of it but looking back now it is pretty incredible to be a part of it in high school so I was ready for it in my collegiate career."

While ending her junior season without a state title hurt stung Wright, she did lead Des Moines East to a 27-0 record and 4A title as a senior.

"I think it is pretty cool," Wright said. "I've had a few people tweeting me saying 'it's not too bad that two girls from Iowa are playing in the national championship game again.'

"I never got to play with her and didn't really get to play against her except in the state championship game my junior year and unfortunately we lost but that was the only time I got to play against her.

"It was followed by a state championship the next year so the state championship kind of trumpets the loss but it was a good game. It was a great opportunity to play against her."

There will be a live blog running during tonight's national championship game.

If you want to follow along, you can do to the event here


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