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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hartley, Mosqueda-Lewis two wins from gold medal

After three rather convincing victories, the United States team needed to work before moving into the World University Games semifinals.

Sweden, which nearly beat gold-medal candidate Russia on the final day of pool play, only trailed the U.S. by four points with less than 6 1/2 minutes to play in the third quarter in Friday's quarterfinals.

With the U.S. in danger of being knocked out of medal contention, UConn All-American Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis picked the perfect time to find the range. Mosqueda-Lewis scored five consecutive points in a span of 56 seconds and seven of her nine points came during a decisive 22-7 run.

The U.S. pulled away for a 103-72 victory as Baylor's Odyssey Sims had a game-high 20 points and UConn's Bria Hartley had 17 points and five rebounds. Mosqueda-Lewis added seven rebounds and two assists while Central Michigan's Crystal Bradford and Duke's Tricia Liston added 11 points each as the U.S. advances to the semifinals to play  Australia at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be televised live on ESPNU. Australia advanced with a 72-58 win over Canada behind 21 points from Alice Kunek Kunek averaged 13 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Bulleen Bombers in the WNBL during the 2012-13 season.

It's going to be an interesting contrast as the U.S. team consists of some of the top college players while 10 of the 12 players from Australia played in the WNBL last season with Tess Madgen, Katie Ebzery, Emma Langford and Kunek finishing among the top 13 scorers in the most recent WNBL season. That list doesn't include WNBL veteran Mariana Tolo (who I remember having a monster game in an exhibition against the U.S. national team a couple years ago) who headed off to play in Europe after some impressive seasons in Australia. Former West Virginia center Natalie Burton is also a member of the Australia squad.

Hartley had three 3-pointers in the first quarter and even with the UConn All-American scoring 11 points, the U.S. only led Sweden 26-24 at the end of the opening quarter.

Binta Dammeh (who had stints with pro teams in Germany and France in the 2012-13 season) had eight points in a span of 2:57 to put Sweden up 40-37 with 4:30 left in the first half. U.S. head coach Sherri Coale rolled the dice and brought Mosqueda-Lewis back into the game even though she picked up a pair of fouls in the first quarter. Mosqueda-Lewis had a key basket and assist as the U.S. ended the first half on a 14-0 run. Sims, Hartley and Bradford each had four points during the run to give the U.S. a 51-40 lead at halftime.

Sweden pulled within four points after a basket by Georgia Tech’s Danielle Hamilton-Carter with 7:09 left in the third quarter and it was still a four-point margin when Mosqueda-Lewis began to deliver.

Mosqueda-Lewis is the leading scorer (12.8 points) and rebounder (6.5) for the U.S. while Hartley is the team's second-leading scorer averaging 12.5 points per game.

Also, all three UConn players were in the starting lineup as the U.S. U-19 team defeated Australia in an exhibition game.

Morgan Tuck had a team-high 17 points in 17 minutes, Breanna Stewart had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Moriah Jeferson had four points, six rebounds and four assists in a 71-66 victory. UConn Class of 2014 recruiting target A'ja Wilson added 11 points and nine rebounds. The U.S. will play Spain tomorrow and Canada on Sunday in the Lanzarote Invitational Tournament in the Canary Islands. The U.S. opens play in the FIBA U-19 World Championships on Thursday against Lithuania.

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