Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Teammates aiding Mosqueda-Lewis

It's not always easy being a freshman with loads of talent and potential.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was on the receiving end of a stern lecture from UConn coach Geno Auriemma at Thursday's practice for tending to pout when things aren't going her way. Two days later Mosqueda-Lewis broke out of a shooting slump with 23 points in a win over Georgetown. Following the game Mosqueda-Lewis talked about what the last couple of weeks have been like.

"Getting yelled at is not embarrassing, you should have enough pride and enough care for our teammates to not want to let them down," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "That is biggest part about being here at UConn, your team is first before anything.

"That is what everybody says in this program, that if you are not getting yelled at then that is when you should start worrying."

Her teammates have been there before as they have drawn Auriemma's ire as he pushes them to reach a level of play that they didn't know they were capable of.

"He just always expects big things from you, he wouldn't be on you if he didn't think you could do it," sophomore guard Bria Hartley said. "You just have to fight back. If he is telling you not to turn the ball over, then don't turn the ball over. You just have to make a shot, make a play or do something to make our team better."

So which player has helped Mosqueda-Lewis the most in dealing with Auriemma's tough love?

"Caroline Doty has been a big (supporter) of mine," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "Whenever I am getting yelled at and taking me out, Caroline is always there talking to me on the sideline telling me 'OK, I know you are better than this, you can't get down on yourself, he just wants you to be better, he wants you to respond in a positive way.' She is like 'prove him wrong if you want to get mad about it but don't pout, don't give up on us, just keep going.'"

Monday's game will be the fourth straight season that Oklahoma and UConn will meet in the regular season. However, there are no plans for the teams to play next season.

"With Texas A&M, Baylor, we get top heavy on certain conferences," Auriemma said. "Last year it was the ACC, we have to spread it out. We have to get more variety, some Big 10, some Southeastern Conference teams."

Auriemma will be going to watch talented junior post Erica McCall play on Tuesday when McCall's Ridgeview squad plays at Mira Monte in Bakersfield, Calif. McCall joins Saniya Chong as new  recruiting targets for the Huskies.

UConn has been involved with Diamond DeShields, Taya Reimer and Karlie Samuelson (who will miss the rest of her junior season with mononucleosis) for quite some time and there is still some interest in Maryland guard Jannah Tucker.

It will not be an easy year of recruiting for the Huskies with a highly-touted class of Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson joining a talented nucleus. Teams are using the "you're never going to play on that team" line that has been used before. It should be noted after the Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, Keirsten Walters and Tamika Williams came in, UConn only signed one player the following season. With six played on the radar, there's a better chance of preventing a situation where UConn misses out on some recruits.

USA Basketball will be announcing the finalists for the U.S. Olympic team in a teleconference on Monday afternoon.

Former UConn stars Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Asjha Jones, Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi are among those in contention to make the Olympic team which will be coached by UConn's Auriemma.


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