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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Familiar faces abound for former UConn star Mosqueda-Lewis

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was recently going through some photos on her phone and one of them really caught her eye.

Mosqueda-Lewis saw a baby-faced Breanna Stewart in a picture with her and she immediately flashed back to that summer seven years ago when they were teammates for the first time as members of the gold-medal winning U.S. U-16 national team.

"I have been reflecting on the fact that we have been playing together since we were 15 years old," Mosqueda-Lewis said before Friday night's Seattle Storm/Connecticut Sun game at Mohegan Sun Arena. "It is crazy that now we are 21, 22 years old that we are still on the same team. Just today I put up a picture from us on the U16 team together, it is pretty crazy that after all of these years we are still playing together."

Mosqueda-Lewis was the leading scorer while Stewart, the youngest player on the squad, was tied for the team lead in blocked shots.

They played together for three years at UConn and were parts of three national championship teams and now they are in their first season together in the WNBA.

Stewart is second on the Storm in rebounds, steals and blocked shots while her 15.7 scoring average is second only to Jewell Loyd, who also took part in the training camp and trials with the U-16 team back in 2009.

Mosqueda-Lewis expected Stewart to make an immediate impact in the WNBA.

"I think it was quite easy for her," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "She has played with a lot of the people that are in the league right now because she is on the national team and has done a great job of doing the things consistently that she knows she can."

Mosqueda-Lewis is averaging 3.6 points per game and the NCAA Division I career leading in 3-pointers made is shooting only 18.2 percent from 3-point range so she is still working to make an impact. The good news is she experienced success as a pro while playing for Charleville-Mezieres in France.

Mosqueda-Lewis was the team's leading scorer at 12.7 points per game and shot 42 percent from 3-point range. More importantly, she helped her team improve from 10-16 in the 2014-15 season to posting a 19-10 mark.

"I spent the year overseas, I was able to gain some confidence and play a lot over there against players who have been playing for a while now really was good for me," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "I don't think there is a better teacher than experience."

One drawback is she didn't get to see UConn's march to a fourth straight national title although she was hardly surprised to see her former teammates cutting down the nets once again.

"I didn't expect anything less from them, they really didn't lose much when me and Kiah (Stokes) graduated and they got in some good freshman," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "It was kind of expected from me that they won another one.

"I probably watched one game I was asleep half the time. I tried to keep up looking at the scores, looking at the highlights that they had or sometimes my parents recorded them and I watched them afterwards. It is different watching from the other side but when they win another one, you feel just a part of it as when you were there."

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