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Women's Basketball Notebook: UConn's Jefferson’s nine snatches one shy of program record

Associate Sports Editor

Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 23:01

Jon Kulakofsky

UConn senior guard Bria Hartley attempts a shot against the Memphis Tigers during the two team’s game Wednesday night at the XL Center in Hartford.

HARTFORD – UConn may have taken down Memphis by a comfortable 34-point margin, 83-49, Wednesday night, but the matchup was certainly more tenuous than the first leg of the home-and-home 18 days ago at the FedEx Forum.

With the birth of a new conference came new opponents for the top-ranked Huskies, some of which they’ve yet to play. But for those squads they have faced for the first time, it’s been a difficult first impression.

The first meetings with Memphis, Central Florida, Houston and Temple were more than ugly – UConn won those four contests by an average of 40.8 points. But with both season meetings now complete, the Tigers have shown a glimpse of the learning curve that unfamiliar foes will have when it comes to playing UConn.

“I would hope that we play in a conference where if a team plays us and loses by 40, that the next time we play them they don’t do the exact same way,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “[…]Those coaches watch film, they work pretty hard, they try to figure out, ‘OK, what can we do defensively.’”

Over the final month-plus of the regular season, the Huskies face just one more new team – SMU on Feb. 4 – for the first time. After that, the pleasantries and introductions will cease, and it will be back to basketball with conference opponents old and new. Chances are, that round of games will be more closely fought.

Tuck misses 12th game
Arthroscopic surgery on a problematic left knee cost Morgan Tuck about six weeks after the Huskies November clash with Stanford. Now, for about the past two weeks, the issues have returned.

All told, the injury has now cost the sophomore forward 12 games, after it sidelined her yet again against Memphis.

“Morgan Tuck is very frustrated, she’s very disappointed that we’re in this situation again,” Auriemma said. “We had hoped that today would be closer to what we wanted her to do, but unfortunately it’s not there. I’m getting concerned that the season’s starting to get away from us.”

The issue this time around has been a bone bruise on Tuck’s knee.

“You can see it right on the X-Rays or right on the MRI,” Auriemma said. “It’s like when a big piece of hail lands on your hood, leaves a crater – she’s got one of those on her knee.”

Auriemma added that the team hopes to know more on her status moving forward later in the week.

Jefferson the thief
 She didn’t quite reach the school record, but Moriah Jefferson stole her way close to the top of the list.

The sophomore point guard came away with nine steals in 32 minutes Wednesday night, falling just one shy of the program-high mark of 10 in a game set by Chathy Bochain and Jen Rizzotti.

“The fact that Mo really gets up into people it frazzles them,” Breanna Stewart said. “She’s like a little pest. I mean that’s what she is. If she was defending me, that’s what I would think.”

Despite a tough shooting night – she converted just one of five attempts for three points – Jefferson was able to contribute on the offensive end with her ability to distribute. In fact, she at one point had an outside shot at an unorthodox steals-assists double-double, and finished the game with six helpers.

 

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