One of the themes expressed by ESPN2’s broadcast team during Monday’s win at Baylor was how Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ conditioning doesn’t seem to be up to par.
The junior forward, a WBCA All-American last season after setting a single-season program record with 118 three-pointers, is two months removed from a nerve injury in her elbow that cost her eight games.
Still, Geno Auriemma agrees that she has some work to do to get herself totally back into condition.
“It’s not a concern right now, but in a few weeks it might be if it doesn’t get any better,” Geno Auriemma said. “When you miss that much time, both in games and practice for five weeks, just going on the exercise bike and treadmill isn’t going to get you in game shape. Add in the travel and Christmas holiday, it’s going to take some time.”
Mosqueda-Lewis returned with a 21-point splash at Duke, making 7 of 11 three-pointers in 27 minutes. And on Jan. 4 in Memphis, she was 5 of 10 from three in 30 minutes to score another 21 points.
But in her other six games, she is 20 of 51 (39.2 percent) from the floor, 8-for-26 (30.1) from three with just two double-figure games. She scored 10 against California and 11 in last Saturday’s game against Temple.
“I have been doing a lot trying to get my wind back,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “I’ve been trying to get back into the flow and I think it’s been going well.”
Auriemma said he partially blames the offensive stratagem the coaching staff has employed that tends to isolate Mosqueda-Lewis on the perimeter.
“I don’t think she is getting the kind of movement on the floor that we want right now,” Auriemma said. “We’ve addressed that [with the coaching staff]. We need to do a better job moving her around because she does have a tendency to drift around the three-point line.”
Mosqueda-Lewis comes into the Rutgers game with 1,342 career points. If she can get to 1,500 before season’s end, she will join Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley as the first trio of UConn teammates to reach that milestone together.
“I am feeling much better than I did when I first came back,” Mosqueda-Lewis added. “I was out for so long and when I came back it was natural for me not to be the same shape I was in the preseason.
“Now I feel so much better and they way I can tell is how confident I feel in my ability to go up and down the floor and how long it takes to get tired.”