Stewart, Jefferson, Tuck lead UConn’s charge into Sweet 16

STORRS, Conn. – In their final game as a trio at Gampel Pavilion, UConn’s Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck showed why they are the most dominant trio in women’s college basketball history, dominating in all phases of the game as the top-seed Connecticut Huskies (34-0) rolled over No. 9 Duquesne 97-51 to move into the Sweet 16.

Stewart (21 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks) demonstrated why she will be the national player of the year, leading her team in scoring, but especially controlling the defensive end. After early success by the Dukes, the game changed on one possession in the first half where Stewart blocked three consecutive shots on one possession with an awe-inspiring display of quickness and timing. Duquesne (28-6) rarely challenged the lane the rest of the game, and only scored 18 points in the paint to UConn’s 50.

Jefferson (20 points, 7 assists, 6 three-pointers) hit three-pointer after three-pointer when UConn struggled early on offense, hitting 5-of-8 for the game. Defensively she added three steals, and played an especially efficient game, finishing with no turnovers against those seven assists.

Tuck (20 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists), who has not announced yet whether she will return for an extra year of eligibility she has due to injury, showed how she earned her reputation as the glue part of UConn’s successful trio, stuffing the stat sheet while only having one turnover as well.

Head coach Geno Auriemma gave them the send off they deserved from the locals, allowing them to play 34 minutes each, as they accounted for 61 of 97 points on 24-for-44 shooting. They combined for 29 of 51 Husky rebounds, and dished 16 of 18 assists. It was a dominant performance in all facets of the game.

Duquesne came into this game prepared to give the Huskies a battle, and three minutes in they led 6-3 on a couple of three-pointers from guard April Robinson, co-player of the year in the Atlantic 10 conference. However a 10-0 run gave UConn a 13-6 lead that they never looked back from.

UConn moves on to the Bridgeport regional, about an hour away from their campus in Storrs on Saturday against fifth-seeded Mississippi State at 11:30 am ET. Those teams will be joined by UCLA and Texas in the late game.

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