Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, February 09, 2015

UConn players had something to prove

It mattered little that UConn trotted out three players who started on a program's ninth national championship team.

All they heard was that the Huskies beating up on the little sisters of the poor better known as the rest of the American Athletic Conference was going to catch up to them and just wait until No. 1 South Carolina out of the big, bad SEC came to town.

Well, those three returning regulars merely combined to nearly outscore the previously undefeated Gamecocks by themselves.

When the dust had settled, the Huskies had a convincing 87-62 win and barring some bizarre tabulations, will ascend to No. 1 when the national coaches poll is released on Tuesday. Barring an upset in incredible proportions in the next game against Tulane on Saturday, UConn will also return to the top of the AP poll as well next week.

"We had something to prove to ourselves more than anything to show that despite all the teams they we were playing and blowing out, people saying we didn't have the competition," said Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who had a game-high 23 points to go with four steals as UConn improved to 17-3 in No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups. "We just wanted to show that we could stand up for and (rise) to the occasion."

Breanna Stewart had 22 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots, Mosqueda-Lewis drained five 3-pointers, Moriah Jefferson added 16 points and six assists while Morgan Tuck chipped in with 17 points and six rebounds for the Huskies.

South Carolina hung with the Huskies in the early going as Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch combined for 16 of the Gamecocks' first 18 points. When Mitchell connected on a three-point play, the game was tied for the fifth time. However, the veteran members of the Huskies began to take over.

"Did we play with an attitude?" UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “It seemed like we did, a little different than usual. Part of it was that Tuck set the tone pretty early. She was just going to attack those guys right away, and so did Stewie. So year, there was a sense that this was going to be different than other games. Our approach was going to be different. I guess it is normal. No disrespect to any of the other teams we have played the last week or so. It is not the same. You don’t get the same juice that you get from getting ready to play in this game.

“I understand. It doesn’t make it OK. I don’t accept it, but I understand it. Then again if you can’t get ready for a game like tonight then you shouldn’t be playing college basketball. You should be doing something else.”


Anonymous Joe said...

Once UConn adjusted their defense to have Moriah face-guard Mitchell, the SC offense stalled. They needed to make a counter-adjustment and never did.

11:11 AM 

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