Dolson, Mosqueda-Lewis deliver again for UConn
So it was only natural that the focus of my game story off the Huskies' 76-43 win over Villanova was the ever-expanding offensive games of junior Stefanie Dolson and sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.
Dolson came to UConn expecting to provide a low-post presence on offense and she has done just that. Mosqueda-Lewis arrived the following year with the reputation of being one of the best pure shooters the Huskies have ever recruited.
However, their offensive games have so many more layers to them now than when the arrived in Storrs.
Dolson' ability to step out at the high post and consistently hit perimeter jumpers makes her a nightmarish matchup for teams especially when you factor in her ability to set up teammates from the high post.
Mosqueda-Lewis was a prolific scorer during her days at California powerhouse Mater Dei but she also left as the program's all-time leading rebounds. She has been showing the ability and willingness to mix it up inside with each passing game for the Huskies.
In the last six games, all lopsided UConn wins, both players have three 20-point games. Mosqueda-Lewis has 109 points and Dolson 102 over that period.
They did most of their offensive damage in the first half to help UConn post runs of 7-0 (to start the game), 10-0 and 15-0 en route to a routine victory.
"Not much has changed in 28 years at Connecticut and one year (coaching) at St. Joe's, all the times that I've had a chance to play against Harry's (Villanova) teams it is the same formula," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "You need to maximize your offensive possessions because if you do and are able to put some points and game pressure on their guys to have to make shots, that is your best chance of beating them. If you are not taking advantage of their possessions and playing catch up it is a long, long night. Stefanie and Kaleena, they are in a real good rhythm right now, a real good place. They are really confident right now."
Dolson and Mosqueda-Lewis admitted that each other's offensive versatility is paying dividends because it is allowing the both of them to thrive.
"It helps us as players and it helps us as a team to have a guard like Kaleena who can shoot the ball amazingly and at the same time get in the post and post up and be strong," Dolson said. "Maybe I can be a post when we need it or step out and shoot jump shots. It just spreads the defense out, keeps them on their toes not knowing how to guard us."
Mosqueda-Lewis moved by teammate Bria Hartley and into 11th place on UConn's career 3-point charts (Mosqueda-Lewis has 154 in 57 games while Hartley has 153 in 94 contests). But she did more than just drain five 3-pointers. She also had five assists, a blocked shots and had a couple of rugged offensive rebounds.
Mosqueda-Lewis and Dolson reached double digits 11 seconds apart which seems fitting with how they are learning to play off of each other's strengths.
"It makes our team a lot more (dangerous) definitely whenever me and Stef can switch up, Coach can put us both in there and we can work together, we can have a high-low going," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "Stef can stay hi or I can go low and nobody can really guard Stef in the post so whenever we can bury her down there it is going to be perfect for her. Just knowing both of us are confident at either spot, it is great. Me and Stef try to play off of each other. Luckily we have both been playing really well and try to keep each other positive."