The second-ranked Huskies moved to 12-1 on the season after Sunday's 70-54 victory over St. John's in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Redshirt sophomore Morgan Tuck scored 17 of her 23 points in the second half -- and even reeled off 11 straight -- as UConn put distance between themselves and their former Big East rival.
“Some of the things are just hard to explain,” coach Geno Auriemma said, according to SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “Morgan is a real good ballhandler and then there are a couple of turnovers that are hard to believe. And she’s so good around the basket and she misses a shot in there you just kind of shake your head.
“Then she comes out in the second half today and makes you realize how good she is. She just needs time. She just needs more time.”
After a sluggish start, All-Everything forward Breanna Stewart (who scored 18) was impressed by how Tuck picked it up in the final 20 minutes.
“Morgan really bounced back in the second half,” Stewart said. “Coach was on her for missing some chip shots in the first half and then she came out and was really aggressive. That’s how Morgan plays and she just keeps showing people. She adds so much for us and makes it hard for defenders to focus on a certain amount of people.”
Tuck's play isn't a surprise, at least not this season. In December, she was named the National Player of the Week, and her strong play hasn't gone unnoticed by opponents.
“(Tuck's) confidence has improved,” St. John’s coach Joe Tartamella said. “Then she was making adjustments to counter what we were trying to do against her in the post.”
Meanwhile, Tuck attributes her growth as a player to one simple truth.
“I think I’ve made the most progress in just playing hard,” she said. “I know I have times that Coach is wondering ‘What am I out there doing?’ I’ve tried to bring energy and play hard all of the time. It gets better with being more consistent and that’s something I have to be better at. I’ll make a layup that’s hard then miss a wide open one. I have to work on my consistency.”