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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

UConn senoors have perfect farewell to Gampel

So many of the games Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes have played at Gampel Pavilion over the last four years have been decided even before the first shot had been taken or first assist was ever recorded.

That was certainly not the case in Monday's NCAA second-round game.

Playing in their final game at Gampel Pavilion, Mosqueda-Lewis and Stokes did what they do the best. Mosqueda-Lewis made some key shots, some from 3-point range and some from inside of it. Meanwhile Stokes was ripping offensive rebounds away from the tall, aggressive Rutgers players and also blocked a couple of shots.

Facing a Rutgers team drawing confidence from the fact that the Huskies' resident superstar was on the bench for most of the first half with two fouls, the Scarlet Knights were within six points as the game approached the midway point of the first half.

The final score (91-55) doesn't completely paint a picture of how interesting things may have gotten had the Huskies, led by their most experienced players, turned up the pressure.

"Today was pretty impressive when you consider how the game was played," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Stewie only played four minutes in the first half and it didn't look like we missed a beat. I was just really proud of the way we handled ourselves. I thought Moriah (Jefferson) was in charge of the game the whole time. I couldn't be happier or this group, they worked really hard and they deserve it."

Coming off a game when she scored a NCAA tournament low two points, Mosqueda-Lewis seemed to be disconnected from the events transpiring. Then in a span of 2:01 she hit two jumpers including a 3-pointer, had a rebound, assist and steal during an 11-0 run.

"Coach tried to emphasize that we kept moving, looking for open spots in their zones and making sure I was doing a lot of things was a key for us today," Mosqueda-Lewis said.

"It is good to go out on a high note specially with everybody playing so well. It is definitely how you want your last game at Gampel to go. Everything is going well for your team, everybody is playing like they have been practicing all year an everything is going right. It was like Coach said, it looked like everybody was connected."

Mosqueda-Lewis had 23 points and had five 3-pointers. She now had 386 in her career, six shy of the NCAA Division I career record. She also moved into fifth place on the NCAA Division I tournament career list with 40 3-pointers and is 14th on the NCAA Division I tournament career scoring list.

Stokes, who had four points, eight rebounds and two blocks, became the 16th Division I player with 140 blocks in a season. However. she was more concerned with helping her team to another trip to the Sweet 16.

"It is kind of tough thinking about it," Stokes said. "This is basically the last time I will walk off Gampel in a game setting. It was definitely emotional and it has kind of hit me that this is not really my home anymore and I have to move onto other things."

The seniors weren't the only players to reach milestones as Jefferson scored the 1,000th point of her career in the game.

Now UConn advances to play Texas at noon on Saturday in Albany in the regional semifinal. Louisville and Dayton will play at about 2:30 in the other regional semifinal.

Also, Morgan Tuck had her 100th assist of the season during the game to become the fourth UConn player with at least 100 assists during the game.


Anonymous Joe said...

I'm glad Stewart wasn't hurt too badly in that first half collision. I thought that she was on the bench more as a precaution against concussion / injury than she was over the two fouls.
Good to see her back in rhythm in the second half.

9:39 AM 

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