The contributions of freshmen Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson in today’s win at Rutgers could not have come a better time for the Huskies. Not only did they combine for 25 points and 10 rebounds in 56 minutes, but they took significant strides toward proving that they can produce off the bench on a regular basis with a showdown against No. 1 Baylor looming Monday at the XL Center.
Tuck led the team in scoring with 15 points (5-of-7 FG; 4-of-4 FT) and five rebounds in 26 minutes. Jefferson had 10 points (3-of-6 FG; 4-of-5 FT), five rebounds, three assists, three steals and zero turnovers in 30 minutes.
“This is something that we should be doing every single game,’’ Tuck said. “Every one on our team has to carry her weight. So hopefully this means that we’re going to be doing it more consistently because in the past we weren’t very consistent with it. But hopefully we build off this game and continue to help out the team.’’
The Huskies received 31 points from the bench today. It was the most meaningful contribution of the season from the reserves.
“We’ve been saying that that’s one of the things I wanted to happen,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “I’ve got a pretty good idea what we’re going to get from certain individuals. But you want to be able to trust the guys coming off the bench as much as you trust some of your starters. And this goes a long way for both Moriah and Morgan going forward to know that they can come in in a game like this and they can contribute what they contributed.’’
Tuck said that she is looking forward to playing No. 1 Baylor and 6-foot-8 All-American center Brittney Griner.
“I’m very excited,’’ Tuck said. “I’ve never got to play against a 6-8 player like her. I got to watch her play a lot, especially when UConn played Baylor my junior year in high school (Nov. 16, 2010 at the XL Center). That was the deciding factor coming here. And to actually be in the game and she’s in there … People focus so much on her. I just can’t wait to play against her.’’