By Carl Adamec
Morgan Tuck’s first game back a week ago from arthroscopic surgery on her right knee was one she would like to forget. She didn’t score and had two turnovers in nine minutes in the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team’s game against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Sunday’s game against California in the Maggie Dixon Classic at New York’s Madison Square Garden didn’t start any better for the sophomore forward. In her first 3:19 on the floor, she had two fouls and found herself back on the bench. One of her turnovers was stepping over the line on an inbounds pass and Cal was not even pressing.
But she took full advantage of her second chance. Tuck hit a pair of first-half threes and finished with a season high 12 points and three assists as the top-ranked Huskies routed the Golden Bears 80-47.
Besides Breanna Stewart (29) she was the only player for UConn in double figures.
“I thought the Duke game she struggled and really didn’t accomplish a whole lot, and then today the same thing,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “It’s uncharacteristic stuff you wouldn’t expect. She hasn’t played a lot because of the injury. Then you throw in exams and then you throw in the long layoff, and you’re just not there.
“When she started making shots, all her confidence started to come back. We’re a different team when she is playing well. You already have to worry about Stewie and you have to worry about Stefanie Dolson. You have K (Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis) out on the perimeter. Now all of a sudden this kid comes in off the bench and starts knocking in shots. We’re a different team when she is playing well.”
More Classic stuff
UConn is now 3-0 in the Maggie Dixon Classic.
There’s no telling what the schedule will look like in future years but don’t be surprised if Auriemma — a friend of Maggie Dixon from her coaching days at DePaul — has the Huskies in the event at the Garden sooner than later.
“For the players who have never been here, I think it is something you want them to experience, and obviously the experience is much better when you win,” Auriemma said. “We talked a lot about the previous games. We played a game here against Ohio State which I think tied the record for us with UCLA (at 88), and remember how great we played that night and what a feeling we had.
“Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson were on that team, and they tried to explain to the other kids what is is going to be like and what kind of an environment it is. Kids are kids. Anything new and exciting that we can present to them, I never get tired of it.”