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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Impressive second half leads UConn to Gulf Coast Showcase title

The first sign that things were just a little different with the UConn women's basketball team came when the normally mild-mannered Kiah Stokes stared down a Green Bay player after she recorded one of her three blocked shots.

The Huskies, as dominant as they are, don't always show a ton of emotions especially when leading by 25 points in the second half. However, feeling like teammate Breanna Stewart didn't get a fair shake when called for a foul as she was sent flying into the scorer's table, seemed to inspire her teammates. It also earned Stewart's coach Geno Auriemma his first technical foul of the season.

"We came in at halftime and talked, I said to those guys I used to coach a team like that 25 years ago," Auriemma said referring to his first Final Four team at UConn. "They are not afraid of anybody. They don't care that you are a first-team All-American, they don't care that you are Breanna Stewart, they don't care you are Kaleena Lewis. It is not who they are, it is not who their culture is. When that call against Stewie, I think that just kind of put our guys over the edge. There was a little attitude we had in the second half. It was good to see because we don't usually find ourselves in that situation."
Stewart took the worst of the collision with the scorer's table and it warmed her spirit to see Auriemma come to her defense.
"I saw the ball and I thought 'go get the ball' and we kind of ran into each other and I seemed to take the hit on the scorer's table," Stewart said. "I didn't know what that call is but once they called it on me, everybody was in an uproar. People they wanted to stick up for me.
"We knew this was going to be a dog fight and nothing was going to be easy. When somebody sticks their neck out for you like that and gets a technical, it is good to see. We knew just to take it to another notch Kiah (Stokes) had some great blocks and hyped everybody up."
Moriah Jeferson had a career-high 19 points to lead UConn (5-1), Breanna Stewart had 17 points and nine rebounds and tournament MVP Kia Nurse had all 16 of her points in the first half.

"We just turned it up on defense," Jefferson said. "We knew they were going to guard Stewie and Kaleena (Mosqueda-Lewis) the way they did and I wanted to open it up. Me and Kia Nurse did a good job getting into the lane and getting shots."
Mosqueda-Lewis had 13 points while Gabby Williams added 10 points.
UConn was barely challenged in its first two games rolling by College of Charleston and Vanderbilt as the Huskies went  undefeated in its 20th straight regular-season tournament.
 The three-day tournament was the final game action before the Huskies prepare to travel to meet No. 2 Notre Dame on Saturday.

Mosqueda-Lewis joined Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore as the only UConn players to make at least 300 career 3-pointers.

Mosqueda-Lewis, who set the program single-season record with 118 3-pointers, needs 18 treys to break Taurasi's UConn mark.

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