Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis has demonstrated that she is much more than just a scorer this season for the third-ranked Huskies. She does lead the team in scoring (16.9). But she is also averaging 5.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 steals in 28.1 minutes.
However, the numbers tell only part of the story regarding the maturation of Mosqueda-Lewis. During the second half of Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame at Gampel Pavilion, she twice injured her right ankle. But she would spend separate stints of only 2:43 and 1:08 on the bench after sustaining the injury for the first time with 11:45 remaining in the game.
“It shows you how much Kaleena’s grown up,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “Last year at this time, we would’ve had to fly her to Walter Reed (Hospital), because when you’re young, every little thing is a big thing. And the other day she pretty much said, `There’s no way I’m coming out of the game.’ And that happened in Oregon, as well. She got hit in the face pretty good and I took her out and she said, `Why are you taking me out?’ So here’s a kid that in the past would let things linger, and now it’s like, `I’m not coming out of the game.’ So I said, `Well, you know what, if you don’t foul, you’re never coming out of the game.’ So let that be a lesson to you, as well.’’
“I wanted to help my team as much as possible,’’ Mosqueda-Lewis said. “I wasn’t willing to come out unless I wasn’t able to walk or I was about to die. So I think it’s a big step. I want my teammates to know that regardless of whether I’m 100 percent or I’m a little under that I’m going to be there for them, that I’m going to play through as much pain as I can. If I’m dying that’s the only way I’m going to be off the court with them.
“It’s something I decided in the beginning of the season is that I want to play as much as I can. And Coach is telling us in the beginning of this year there’s a difference between being hurt and being injured. If you’re hurt you can still play. If you’re injured you’re like Caroline (Doty), maybe you tore your ACL or you can’t go physically. But if I’m just hurt I’m going to keep playing.’’
Mosqueda-Lewis, who did not play against Colgate Nov. 28 due to a concussion, said that she is also being bothered by shin and elbow problems. They are hardly going to keep her from playing in tonight’s game at Georgetown, though.
“I have never been hurt this much in my entire basketball career,’’ Mosqueda-Lewis said. “So to actually have all the these things happen in such a short span of time, I feel like I can either look at it in a good way like, `Oh, maybe this means I’m not going to get hurt anymore since I got it all out of the way.’ Or just I’ve got to work through it. That’s what I’ve been trying to do. There’s not really any time to be hurt right now. People say, `Oh, you have time now. It’s only January. You want to be good in March.’ But I need to good now so I can be good in March.’’