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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Hamstring issue to sideline UConn's Jefferson for Tulsa game

A hamstring injury suffered in Friday's practice will end Moriah Jefferson's string of consecutive starts at 90.

Jefferson started all 40 games during her sophomore season, all 39 contests a season ago and the first 11 games this season but UConn will be playing it safe with the All-American point guard and that means not playing her against Tulsa tomorrow.

Jefferson was not made available to the media after today's practice but UConn coach Geno Auriemma was quick to make it clear this is not a serious injury.

"Nobody is walking around saying 'our season is in jeopardy' believe me," Auriemma said.

"She went up and down the floor and right there (pointing to a spot on the right side of the court just outside the 3-point line), she just stopped and felt something. It is a hamstring and if you don't take care of those when they happen and give it enough time then you are dealing with it for the rest of the season. We are trying to give her enough time that we don't have to deal with it for the rest of the season."

Saniya Chong is expected to make her first start of the season in place of Jefferson. There will be more on Chong in the advance for tomorrow's paper.

The irony of the latest development is that after tomorrow, three returning players will have appeared in every game - Kia Nurse and a pair of players (Morgan Tuck and Gabby Williams) who headed into last season with major injured-related question marks.

"I am glad that their injuries aren't super serious," Tuck said.

So what will UConn miss the most without Jefferson in the lineup?

 "Her leadership from the point guard position," Tuck said. "She is our main point guard/scoring guard so we are going to miss her. It is kind of that same thing to when Stewie was out, it gives other people more of an opportunity to play a little more and step up."

Staying on the subject of injuries, sophomore center Natalie Butler left towards the end of practice so she could get her injured thumb checked out. Auriemma said if the follow-up appointment goes well, she could soon be playing without the splint on her left hand that she needed to play against Cincinnati.

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