A year ago, Morgan Tuck missed all but eight games with a knee injury. This season, she's been a dominating force in the paint who routinely makes opponents pay for double-teaming Breanna Stewart.
On Sunday, Tuck scored 24 points in UConn's dominating 81-58 win over Maryland in the Final Four. She was 10 of 16 from the floor, 2 of 4 from behind the arc and pulled nine rebounds. Along with Stewart, the duo combined for 49 points.
“It was a statement game for her,” Stewart after the game, according to SNY.com. “Whether she meant to do it or not, she showed everyone that she deserved to be an All-American. The way she played tonight was unbelievable and that’s Morgan Tuck.”
Incidentally, Tuck wasn't one of the three Huskies named to 10-player WBCA All-America team, but she was elated for teammates Stewart, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Moriah Jefferson.
“My first emotion was being extremely happy for the three that made it,” Tuck said. “They really worked hard. It was the first time for Moriah so I was really happy for her. You want to be an All-American. If you’re not striving to be an All-American, what are you going to strive for? Of course, I want to be an All-American. But I have up to two years left so there’s lots of time to get that.”
Tuck isn't alone in her thinking.
“Morgan is an All-American, regardless if she was out there with us or not,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “Everyone has seen it all year long. She wasn’t chosen but we all see that she is by the way she plays every single night.”
And coach Geno Auriemma added: “I understand there are a lot of really good players in the country and that you can only reward our team so much for what we did,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “The three that they picked deserved it. But if people had an opportunity to come watch our practices, they would think that there were a lot of practices during the course of the season you would think Tuck was the national Player of the Year. That’s how good she is every day in practice. Having not played all of last year she wasn’t in the conversation in the beginning of the season. But a lot of kids that made first-team All-American wish they were playing Tuesday night. So it all works out.”
Whatever honors Tuck has or hasn't received, the reality is that she's still one of the best players in the country, a fact not lost on Notre Dame.