Morgan Tuck can only watch now, but she could have been part of all the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's 94-game winning streak.
After earning her spot in the Huskies of Honor as a WBCA All-American and helping UConn to its fourth straight national championship last April, Tuck opted to leave with her original class of Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson and not use her final year of college eligibility. She was the third overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun.
If the Bolingbrook, Illinois native only knew then what she knows now.
"I am kind of surprised. I didn't think they would be 19-0," Tuck said Tuesday before working as an analyst on WTIC-AM1080's coverage of UConn's game at East Carolina. "But when I see how they're playing and how confident they are, I think they can go the rest of the year undefeated."
Imagine if No. 1 UConn -- which plays host to Houston on Saturday in American Athletic Conference action at the XL Center in Hartford (SNY, noon) had an extra All-American post player to its mix.
But Tuck wouldn't change anything. The ending at UConn was perfect, and though her first season with the Sun came to a close prematurely due to left knee surgery, she's excited about what's going to happen next at Mohegan Sun Arena. And she's enjoying her part-time role in the media.
So what's been the key to UConn not yet missing a beat? Tuck points to the play of junior Gabby Williams, who posted the program's fifth triple-double with 16 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists at East Carolina.
"The sophomores have made a jump, obviously, but Gabby has made a big jump that has impacted this team a lot," Tuck said. "The last four years we counted on Stewie on defense. When we messed up, Stewie was able to clean it up for us. Gabby does that for this team, but she can do it on anyone from the other team's biggest post player to the point guard. She's always so active."
Tuck recalled Williams' arrival when she would exclusively use her athleticism to get things done. Now she sees a solid basketball player with a lot of confidence.
The Sparks, Nevada native is averaging career bests of 12.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.2 blocked shots. She ranks in the top five in the AAC in six statistical categories.
"Gabby learned a lot the past two years and she realized how important the mental aspect of the game was and that was the thing holding her back," Tuck said. "She figured out how to be strong mentally and to have a short-term memory in case she made a mistake."
Sophomores Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier have also made a strong impression on Tuck after they played more complementary roles during last season's unbeaten championship run.
Samuelson leads the AAC in scoring and 3-point shooting while Collier tops league players in field-goal percentage and blocked shots while also ranking in the top 10 in points, rebounds and steals.
"With Lou and Napheesa, they've taken advantage of having more opportunity," Tuck said. "They were good players last year but didn't have the opportunity that they're getting now. A big piece is gone, so they had to step up and fill it. They've done it, and they're also very confident."
UConn (19-0 overall, 7-0 AAC) is playing its final January game Saturday and does not figure to have much trouble with Houston (8-12, 1-6 AAC). The Huskies have won their four previous meetings with the Cougars by an average of 49.8 points.
But the February stretch drive is about to begin and it starts with a key AAC contest at Temple on Wednesday. The Owls (16-3, 6-0) head into their Sunday showdown with South Florida in Philadelphia as the league's only other unbeaten. UConn and Temple also play at the XL Center on Feb. 22.
Of course, UConn has a marquee matchup with No. 5 South Carolina on Feb. 13 at Gampel Pavilion.
How do the Huskies build in the next month to reach a peak for tournament time in March?
"Just keep playing in a way that they're proud of, the way they play at UConn," Tuck said. "They've done it so far. They'll have a big challenge in South Carolina on the 13th. To play a game like that at that point is great, but it doesn't really matter. It's a game where you test yourself against another one of the best teams in the country. After that, it's about getting on a roll and keeping the momentum going into the postseason."
Tuck, meanwhile, is working to get ready for her second WNBA season. It's been five months since her surgery and she said she's on schedule to be ready for training camp.
The Sun finished 14-20 last season and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
"My rehab is going well," Tuck said. "I've been cleared to run and do that kind of stuff. I've been working with the Sun's strength and conditioning team. I'm doing a lot of strength work because the key to my recovery is getting back strong."