Huskies’ Jefferson hoping to raise level of play

By Carl Adamec

STORRS, Conn. — Moriah Jefferson had plenty to think about during the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team’s 12-day break for fall semester final exams.

Off the court, it was the stress that comes with taking final exams.

On the court, it was the wait to get back into game action after a performance that the junior point guard called — her word — terrible.

When the second-ranked Huskies take on No. 25 DePaul Friday at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport (7:30 p.m., SNY) it will be their first contest since their impressive 18-point win at Notre Dame on Dec. 6, though a game Jefferson struggled through.
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Okafor-Brimah Matchup Fails to Live Up to Hype as Duke Beats UConn

John F. Silver:

From last night on Zagsblog.

Originally posted on

NCAA Basketball: Duke vs ConnecticutEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The highly anticipated Jahlil Okafor-Amida Brimah matchup never materialized as Duke handled UConn, 66-56, Thursday night at the IZOD Center.

Okafor, the presumed No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, went for 12 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists in the win. His night included a spin move on UConn’s Philip Nolan, a dunk and a staredown, as well as several nifty one-handed passes over the top out of the double-team.

Projected as the No. 10 pick in the 2016 Draft by, the 7-foot Brimah got into early foul trouble and was a complete non-factor in the game, finishing with no points and one rebound before fouling out. Brimah was coming off a 40-point, 12-rebound performance against Coppin State.

“Obviously, Okafor’s the best player in college basketball, it’s not even close,” one of the 39 NBA personnel in the building told “And Brimah’s…

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GEICO SportsNite: UConn falls to Duke

GEICO SportsNite has highlights from UConn’s matchup with Duke, which saw the Huskies come up short in the final minutes of a 66-56 loss Thursday night at the Izod Center in New Jersey.

Recap: Duke 66 — UConn 56

Recap: Duke (10-0) held off UConn (4-4) 66-56 at the Izod Center on Thursday night in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Need to know: UConn dropped to 4-4 on the season as its offense struggled in a loss to Duke.

Duke’s Tyus Jones scored 21 points and Amile Jefferson added 11 points and 13 rebounds as all five starters scored in double figures for the Blue Devils.

The Jahlil Okafor (12 points, 10 rebounds) vs. Amida Brimah game never really materialized. Brimah got a foul called in the first minute of the game and barely played. Brimah, coming off a 40 point game, had zero points, 1 shot, 1 rebound, 2 blocks and five fouls.

UConn shot 42.6 percent from the floor, but was 3 of 13 from 3-point range and 7 of 13 from the free throw line. Duke held a 25-7 edge from the line (34-13 edge in attempts), the difference from the game. UConn made 23 of 54 baskets, Duke 17 of 48.

Ryan Boatright had another terrific game with 22 points. Kentan Facey added 14 and Daniel Hamilton 10.

Links: Box score 

Next up: UConn plays Columbia on Dec. 22 at the Webster Bank Arena.

UConn, Duke have some history

UConn and Duke have played 9 times all-time, including two games from before 1990.

The Hartford Courant has a look back at each game of the series here. H/T to the Courant for jogging my memory.

Here are some of the more memorable and impactful games of the two top programs in college basketball the last 30 years.

1990 Elite 8

A game after The Shot, Christian Laetener ended UConn’s Dream Season. If only Tate George kept the ball in bounds…

1991 Sweet 16

UConn had no business being in this game as Duke was set to go and upset UNLV in one of the most famous games in NCAA history. This game was known as the Rod Sellers bounces Christian Laettner’s head on the floor game. People in CT cheered.  Sellers was suspended from an NCAA game the following year. Yeah, made perfect sense.

1999 National Championship

UConn had beaten Duke in a meaningless December game years before, but this is the first time the Huskies really broke through against Duke. Vaunted No. 1 Duke couldn’t handle Richard Hamilton and the No. 2 Huskies in the national championship game and UConn went on to their first, of now four, national championships.  Ricky Moore and Kevin Freeman started that game. Trajan Langdon tripping over himself in the final seconds is the lasting moment. Duke’s still bitter about that one as the Elton Brand led Devils can’t get over it (Dave Borges/NH Register). Final score, 77-74.

2004 Final Four

This one was one of my favorites. I was at the women’s final four in New Orleans as this was the first of the Dual National Championships. Jim Calhoun had the best team, by far, and the Hall of Fame coach showed such discipline keeping Emeka Okafor on the bench with two fouls for the final 15 minutes of the first half. Calhoun did not give in to what Duke was doing and allowed his all-american to come have a full slate of fouls for the second half. The officiating early on in that Duke-UConn game was legendary. It was at the height of Duke’s perceived officiating advantage and Okafor got two quick, and questionable foul calls.  Calhoun went nuts, but stayed disciplined. Second half? Okafor couldn’t get a foul called against him and manhandled Duke late in the game. The officials were petrified to call a foul late in the game. UConn goes in a 12-3 run, wins 78-77, and then destroys Georgia Tech for the national title.