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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Emotions on hold as UConn seniors set to play final game at Gampel

Neither Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis or Kiah Stokes know what the future has in store for them but one thing they are certain of is that they won't play at Gampel Pavilion again after tonight's NCAA second-round game against Rutgers comes to an end.

I've always found the whole concept of the emotional Senior Day/Night festivities to be rather interesting because invariably there are still conference and NCAA tournament games to be played in Connecticut after they play their final regular-season game at Gampel. However, both Mosqueda-Lewis and Stokes admitted that going through the Senior Day festivities helped them deal with all of the emotions so they can focus fully on the survive and advance side of things once the NCAA tournament comes around.

"I am just thinking about the tournament and I am not thinking about it being my last game (in Connecticut)," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "I kind of got that out of my system after Senior Night.

"I think it does help you get it out of the way and lets you focus on what is really important."

Stokes had a similar take on things as she prepares to step onto Gampel Pavilion for the last time as a Husky.
"It is one of our last games," Stokes said. "It is not a sad time because you still have hopefully we have five more games left so we have to keep on pushing until then. It is not over until we play our last game and we are just trying to make sure that isn't our game (today) or the weekend after that.

"It will definitely be weird because I will be practicing on it for four years and now tomorrow is going to be our game at Gampel. It is definitely emotional but right now I am trying not to think about it like that. I am just trying to make sure it is a great game tomorrow."

Both players have a chance at some milestones tonight.

Stokes has a UConn single-season record 138 blocks and she is two away from becoming the 16th Division I women's player with 140 blocked shots in a season.

Mosqueda-Lewis is currently eighth on the NCAA Division I women's career list with 381 3-pointers. Next up will be former Louisville star Shoni Schimmel and former James Madison standout Dawn Evans, who are tied for sixth with 387 3s. She needs five points to become the 18th player with at least 300 career points in the NCAA Division I tournament and is currently tied for ninth on the career 3-point list in the NCAA tournament. She has 35, one behind Maryland grad Kristi Toliver and two behind former Huskies Bria Hartley and Renee Montgomery.

Last but certainly not least, today is the last day to vote for Stokes in the balloting for the Senior CLASS Award. Stokes leads the voting at 29.4 percent followed by Tennessee's Isabelle Harrison (17.4) and Iowa's Samantha Logic (13.6). The voting is just one of the criteria for selecting the Senior CLASS Award winner which goes to the player who is successful on the court, in the classroom and also is a positive contributor to the community.

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