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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Seniors Jefferson and Stewart star in win at Temple

Both Moriah Jefferson and Breanna Stewart have had their share of huge offensive games since arriving at UConn but Sunday's 85-60 win at Temple marked just the second time they scored at least 20 points in the same game.

Jefferson's take on her 25-point effort (to go with eight assists and eight steals) and the 24 points by Stewart (along with eight rebounds, seven assists, four steals and six blocked shots) is almost that it was a necessary evil.

Starters Morgan Tuck and Kia Nurse had one made field goal each and other than a garbage time basket by Natalie Butler, the only reserve to make a shot from the field was Gabby Williams who was a spectacular 9 for 9.

"It is fun but at the same time it is not what we really want to do," Jefferson said. "We want to be consistent we want the flow to be everybody in rhythm and everybody to make a play. Sometimes there are other games when we have to do it and there are other games where you can where we don't need to."

Temple got blown out only a month ago when the Owls played at UConn but when Erica Covile hit a layup, the game was tied at 30 with 4:08 left in the second quarter. Temple missed its final seven shots of the half and had three turnovers allowing the Huskies to use a 10-0 run to take a 10-point lead into the locker room at halftime.

"I thought the first 20 minutes the only thing we did better was we had more All-Americans on the floor than they did," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "I don't think we did anything better. I don't think we rebounded better, ran our offense better, played better defense. I don't think we did anything better than them, I told them at halftime the only reason we are 10 points is we have three All-Americans on the floor and they don't."
Jefferson moved past UConn legend Sue Bird in both points and assists while Jefferson, Stewart and Morgan Tuck now are the most productive trio of classmates in UConn women's basketball history in points, assists, steals and now blocked shots.

Temple coach Tonya Cardoza, who was an assistant coach on some of the Huskies best teams, believes that the Jefferson and Stewart deserve to be mentioned among the best guard-forward combos to ever suit up at UConn.

"Both of those guys are unbelievable and the way Jefferson never gets rattled no matter what the situation, she just plays hard, knocked down shots when she has to," Cardoza said. "I just remember the championship game last year and how she just stepped up and won the game for them. I love her and I tell my guards all the time to just watch her. She is busting her butt running all over the place, she is never complained about being tired, she is running her team. You need to pay attention watch her study film of her. I love Jefferson and Stewart she is going to go down as one of the best to play. She is just unbelievable, she is super athletic and the things she is able to do at her size, oh my gosh. I am so excited about her graduating, both of them and Tuck too. Even though Tuck didn't have a great night, I hope Tuck leaves too."

I will have more on Williams in the next day or two as she joins Rebecca Lobo, Stewart, Shea Ralph and Nykesha Sales as the only UConn players to attempt at least nine shots from the field without missing. She finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim -

Why would Auriemma play Tuck, when he knows the clock is running out on her knees? It is one thing to start Tuck. But he kept playing her, when it was obvious she was having a bad day.

Almost every game, Tuck has difficulty getting the ball over the rim from 3 feet away. And she is not a good rebounder. Sign of painful knees and fatigued. As bad as her shots were today, why not save her knees for USF and March Madness?

Gab-ulous Williams is the only UConn player who aggressively and consistently rebounds with 2 hands. Are the coaches not teaching rebounding technique to KLS and Butler? Collier typically pads her rebounding and scoring stats in the 4th quarter, when the game has long been over.

8:49 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Auriemma does not need to explain why he takes out Gabulous so often and so early. But yesterday it was quite clear once again Gabby is a much better rebounder than Tuck, KLS, and Collier. Rebounding is not just about position. Effort and the will to go after rebounds is just as important. Gabby masters all 3. Since the days when she briefly started, most of Collier's stats come in the 4th quarter of games decided by halftime.

8:14 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim -

Do you if the UConn players do any special or unique Aerobic and Anaerobic training? Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson look like they could play 50 minutes. What is more amazing is that Stewart is getting banged around in the post and Jefferson sometimes face guards on defense.

Only players that I ever perceive getting tired are Gabby Williams and Morgan Tuck. Not like Stefanie Dolson in her freshman and sophomore years. Just normal game tiredness like opponents.

1:16 PM 

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