Kalenna Mosqueda-Lewis. The AAC Tournament Outstanding Player.
UNCASVILLE: When the 2014-2015 season started for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, those of us who watched the play of senior forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis were not quite sure what we were going to get.
A sluggish start to the campaign had folks shaking their heads and wondering if the projected number one pick in the upcoming WNBA draft was going to be able to get on track to be what most had projected.
Fast forward to tonight, when KML was named Most Outstanding Player in the American Athletic Conference Tournament after leading her team to their second straight AAC title with a hard fought 84-70 win over the University of South Florida.
Mosqueda-Lewis capped off the three wins in three days run by the Huskies with a 23-point performance that was the most impressive because of what it wasn’t made of.
The night contained but one three-point basket, a pretty regular weapon for a player who looks like a lock to leave UConn as the top trey maker of all time.
“One of the important things that I thought came out of this game was that K had 23-points,” head coach Geno Auriemma said. “But made just one three. Usually when she scores a lot of points she has four or five three’s and not as many others. I thought today she made herself hard to guard because she was scoring from all over the court, not just from beyond the three point line. That’s been something we’ve been working on with her and that she’s been working on to her credit. She’s become more than a three point shooter and tonight she certainly showed that.”
Over her four years, Mosqueda-Lewis has at times been the second act behind a star that garnered most of the attention but one of those current stars understands just how important the senior is to this team.
“Kaleena means a lot to this team,” Breanna Stewart said taking about her teammate, “I think sometimes people underestimate her talent and that kind of thing but it shouldn’t be that at all. The way that she came out and played this three game stretch that’s exactly how she plays and when she has confidence and everything is going for her, she hard to stop and you saw tonight that she got whatever she wanted.”
On Monday, Mosqueda-Lewis added six boards and six assists after scoring 18 with five boards in the Huskies 93-34 win over Cincinnati in the opener and 21 points with five boards in a 106-56 win over ECU on Sunday night.
The smooth shooting senior is now just 11 long balls away from the all-time NCAA record of 392 and it’s a safe bet that if the Huskies keep playing like they are, the record will be hers.
What’s most important to this team though is that at just the right time, the best pure shooter in the game today is playing some of the best basketball of her career at just the right time.
KML shot 58.1 percent over the three days with a total of 10 three’s.
Great players always know how to up their game at just the right time and those early season doubts have long since gone away.
NOTES: Mosqueda-Lewis is eighth in Division I history with 381 made 3-pointers in 136 career games. She is 11 shy of the Division I record of 392 set by Dawn Evans of James Madison (2008-11) and Shoni Schimmel of Louisville 2011-14) are tied for sixth with 387.
Laurie Koehn of Kansas State (2002-05) and Heather Butler of Tennessee-Martin (2011-14) share the record of 392.
Mosqueda-Lewis becomes 3rd UConn player to be named conference tournament Most Outstanding Player a second time (Kara Wolters, Maya Moore ).