STORRS, Conn. -- Moriah Jefferson's head spins when she thinks about it, for more than one reason.
On July 20, Kia Nurse scored 33 points as Team Canada defeated the United States 81-73 in Toronto for the Pan-American Games gold medal. Nurse did a good amount of her damage against her University of Connecticut teammate, and Jefferson also ended up with a concussion after they butted heads while going for a loose ball in the fourth quarter.
"I didn't even know what adjustments to make," Jefferson said on Tuesday. "I wasn't expecting 33. So when she did that, you tip your hat to her. What are we going to do about it?
"But then she hit me in the head with her extremely hard head, and then I wasn't happy with her anymore," Jefferson added with a smile. "So I still have a grudge with her for that one."
The best way for Nurse to get back on Jefferson's good side is to help send the Huskies' seniors out with an unprecedented fourth straight national championship.
The Huskies will continue their informal workouts for another three weeks. The annual First Night program is Oct. 16 at Gampel Pavilion and the first exhibition against Lubbock Christian is set for Nov. 2 at the XL Center in Hartford. UConn will then take a 37-game winning streak into its regular season opener at Ohio State Nov. 16.
After what Nurse showed this summer, expectations are high.
"It was all a big confidence-boost for me," Nurse said. "I played with a lot more confidence than I ever had in myself and my own abilities. For me, that was big to go out there and not question myself and do the things that I knew that I could do for a long time.
"It's still surreal, but you have to keep going. There's no way that you can't. It's been all incredible. But you see the countdown to the season every day so you work on getting better and better."
After a solid first season at UConn that saw her earn American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year honors, Nurse took her game to another level with Team Canada.
The Hamilton, Ontario, native averaged 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists as the Canadians won Pan-Am gold for the first time. Her performance in the final against Team USA made her a national hero.
"It was a long day just waiting for the game with the late start," Nurse said. "I was sitting there and thinking about it. At halftime I kept thinking, 'Keep moving. Keep doing the things you're doing.' If I did, I would be OK."
Nurse, though, wasn't done. Team Canada's No. 1 goal was to qualify for its second straight Olympics and had the opportunity to do so at the FIBA Americas Championship in Edmonton.
She would average 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.0 steals in earning MVP honors as Canada went unbeaten. She had 20 points in the 82-66 victory over Cuba on Aug. 16 that clinched a spot in Rio de Janeiro.
"It was playing at home, the adrenaline rush, just having the opportunity to show Canada what the women's side of their basketball program was all about," Nurse said. "When I started practice with them, I felt leaps and bounds better from the start coming off the year that I had here."
It seemed like it would be an endless summer. But it's fall and Nurse is back on campus working with her UConn teammates.
She still has plenty to prove and is ready to improve.
"I would say I'm better at getting to the rim and finishing out there," Nurse said. "Defensively, it's continuing to keep people in front of me."
That didn't happen during a recent pick-up game at the Werth Champions Center as Jefferson drove past Nurse for a layup.
One of Nurse's older teammates in the scrimmage -- one with a short memory -- didn't take the sequence well.
"I looked at Kia and went, 'Really? That didn't happen in July,' " UConn senior Breanna Stewart said.
Stewart was also on the losing end of that Pan-American Games final.
"But Kia played great this summer and it was something she needed for her confidence," Stewart added. "That will help her the rest of her years at UConn."