Just Imagine If Mosqueda-Lewis Didn’t Play Thursday

by Categorized: Big East women's basketball, Geno Auriemma, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Penn State women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

If not for sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Penn State may have pulled off the nation’s biggest upset of the season Thursday night at Gampel Pavilion.

And oh how the tone of today’s conversation would have been different had the No. 2 Huskies not won, 67-52. Right?

“With all the offensive weapons we have, we understand opponents are going to need to be super aggressive to take us out of things we like to do,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “We’ll just need to stay strong and stay smart.”

For the longest time this week, it appeared Mosqueda-Lewis wouldn’t even play.

In the first half of the Maryland game, after scoring seven points in 13 minutes, Mosqueda-Lewis, the Big East’s reigning Freshman of the Year, felt something pull in left quad after being called for traveling.

She had just returned from a concussion suffered in the Virgin Islands on Nov. 24 that forced her to miss UConn’s win over Colgate.

“My knee was all swollen,” she said. “But Rosemary [Ragle, UConn’s athletic trainer] told me she would try to get me back as quickly as possible. And she did. I was just happy to be able to play.

“I’ll just try to stay padded up for the rest of the year.”

After just being cleared to play Thursday afternoon, KML played 35 minutes. She scored eight of UConn’s first 10 points and led it with a game-high 25, shooting 4 of 7 from three with five rebounds, four steals, but six turnovers.

What Auriemma sees in Mosqueda-Lewis is a reconstituted talent, one who sees the game much different than she did last year.

“She spent her whole freshman year kind of wandering around the three-point line, hoping and praying that she would get another opportunity to shoot,” Auriemma said. “[Against Penn State] she had three offensive-foul calls and they were uncharacteristic … She’s done a really good job of getting people off their feet and one-dribble by them for a really a high percentage shot for her.

“But I think when she saw the way the game was being officiated [38 total fouls] she wanted to attack the basket more and that’s her mentality right now. She wants to post up, she wants to attack up the middle. As a result of that she is getting some really good looks outside the three-point line as well.”

During the break, when the players have time to think about basketball, Auriemma would like it if more of them emulated the thought that’s transformed the game of KML, Banks, Kelly Faris and Stef Dolson.

Until then, even though UConn’s has won by a margin of 40.2, he is not going to be satisfied.

“Kaleena’s done what I’d hope most players would do. She took what she was really good at as a freshman and what she was not good at and adjusted her game and now she’s a sophomore and she’s a different player then she was last year.”

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14 thoughts on “Just Imagine If Mosqueda-Lewis Didn’t Play Thursday

  1. Village Idiot

    KML is better at this point in her career than Maya was as a Senior. Maya a great shooter, KML a great baskteball player. I don’t know if KML wasn’t in the Penn game what the outcome would be. But it sure was comforting to have her in it. All the talk about her trimming down and getting faster–much like me, she can be a skinny rail and won’t be any faster. Thanks Geno for giving her the praise she deserves. Stewart, Jefferson, Tuck, Stoke and Especially Banks played well–don’t throw them in the trash just yet. Banks was amazing.

    1. RP

      KML is a very good player granted and she will get better, but better than Maya as a senior? I respectfully disagree. On what basis ca you say tha? Maya had more assists and rebounds and played better defense. She was national player of the year. KML is not even a first team All American.

      1. Village Idiot

        RP–I never compare player at different points in their careers. With KML I always say–at this point in her career-then I compare her to Maya.
        As you pointed out Maya had to be a senior to do most of what KML is doing now. KML was side stepping the defense last year to make a shot, not Maya as a frosh. KML rebounded last year, not maya as a frosh. KML had a bad game last year against ND and she went into a funk–but with 8 games remaining she was a force on the UConn team–could’t win it alone, nor could maya–they both need(ed) help and they didn’t get it.

  2. nhntc47

    We all know KML’s ability. But don’t forget Brianna Banks. She’s become a very good player. I enjoyed her game immensely.

  3. bahmi

    Great and incisive comments. I’d add that Brianna Banks deserves to start a couple games, give her more shots and she will score very well. Her development is gratifying. I’m having a tough time with Kiah Stokes, she’s got stone fingers around the hoop. Rough, brutal play against the Huskies is one thing, good officiating is another. Some of these games are horrendously refereed and I think it’s deliberate. Keep ‘em close as you can, especially with the moneymakers in the Top Ten. Try to keep scores close. The Stanford game may be tougher against the refs than against Stanford. This could be a nightmare game.
    As far as “UConn loses if KML doesn’t play”, that’s a silly comment. How about “UConn forfeits game as floor is missing before game”? Or, UConn forfeits game because only 4 players show up? If KML were not there, wanna bet other players show up, John??? You young writers are all the same. If this, if that, what about this? How about you deal with REALITY, John. Call the game for what it is, not what it MIGHT be.

  4. Steve Gee

    I’ve been most impressed with Banks’ assertiveness with the ball this season. She’s playing with confidence.
    I’d be doubly impressed if she included her teammates by sharing the ball.
    I know that will come.

  5. FREDDYKOOL

    FREDDYKOOL: IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF
    FECAL MATTER WAS ELECTRICITY THE 3 STRIPED BLIND MICE WOULD HAVE BEEN POWERHOUSES…….LOL

  6. Subway Eat Fresh

    KML – tougher than Maya.
    Faris – 1st team AA if she could score 14ppg.
    Dolson – quicker, leaner, but lousy rebounder.
    Doty – invaluable leader, not much else.
    Hartley – selfish, poor decision maker.
    Stewart – discovered Big Girl Basketball is not easy.
    Banks – will be UConn’s best guard next season.
    Stokes – gifted body, no confidence, doghouse veteran.
    Jefferson – overrated version of Dixon.
    Tuck – expected much more based on the hype.
    Buck – never improved, should pay back her scholarship.

    1. R Cronin

      Comment about Buck is unfair. Every single time we’ve played Baylor (or any other team with a fantastic post), Geno has had to turn to Buck at a critical juncture in the game (fouls, blood on uni, etc) and while she’ll never be what we all hoped she’d be, don’t write her off.
      I remember a game where a young Dolson got into horrid foul trouble and wasn’t playing that well anyway and Heather played incredible defense on BRITANY GRINER for 10 minutes towards the end of the second half. The ONLY 10 MINUTES in the entire game where Griner had NO POINTS. If not for that 10 minutes stretch, UC loses the game.
      Frankly, the world as whole needs more Heather Bucks. She’s going to be a wonderful nurse. I’m glad she’s on scholarship!
      PS. I’ve never met her.

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