Sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis has been so accurate so often this season that Kelly Faris thought that she had already set the UConn single-season record for made 3-pointers. It has been that type of season for Mosqueda-Lewis, who actually set the record with two 3-pointers in Monday’s win over Vanderbilt in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Gampel Pavilion.
Mosqueda made her record-setting 108th 3-pointer of the season with 13:13 left in the second half, eclipsing the record of 107 set by Wendy Davis in 1991-92.
“I’m really happy for her,’’ Faris said. “She deserves it and she’s obviously got a great shot. A pure shooter. She works at it and so she definitely deserves it.’’
Said Mosqueda-Lewis: “It’s awesome. I’m just happy that I was able to make all those shots. I was happy that the work I’ve been doing paid off and that my teammates are looking for me to make those shots. And my coaches are telling me that you need to get open for these shots. You need to make sure that you get them.
“To be among all the legends that have come through here in Connecticut, it’s nice to know that somehow I’m going to be with UConn forever.’’
Mosqueda-Lewis, who leads the nation in 3-point shooting percentage, is 108-of-216 this season (.500). Sue Bird set the team single-season record for 3-point shooting percentage as a sophomore in 1999-00 (.497; 72-of-145). She also holds the career mark too (.459; 207-of-451).
Mosqueda-Lewis is currently shooting 43.9 percent from 3-point range (201-of-458) in 72 career games. She is the eighth player in team history with 200 career 3-pointers.
“Numbers don’t lie,’’ UConn senior Caroline Doty said. “I know that when the ball’s in her hands good things are going to happen.’’
Said UConn freshman Breanna Stewart: “Obviously, she’s practiced it enough and she has the confidence to know that it’s going to go in almost every single time.’’
Mosqueda-Lewis has already risen to eighth all-time in team history in made 3-pointers. Diana Taurasi made a record 318 in 144 games. Mosqueda-Lewis is also tied for second all-time in team history in 3-point shooting percentage.
“Most great shooters have the same thing in common,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said “One, they’ve put a lot of time into their craft. They’ve shot thousands and thousands and thousands of shots. And other kids can shoot thousands of shots and they don’t become the kind of shooter that Kaleena is. What God gave her was the ability to release the ball the same way just about every time. I bet you if she takes a hundred shots in the gym, 99 of them are going to come off the exact same way. And because of that she has a mindset that every one’s going in. So you put those three things together that’s an incredibly powerful combination of `I know I’ve worked on it. I know I release it the same way all the time and I expect every one to go in.’ That’s something that every great shooter has had. And I know for a fact every single player on my team every time Kaleena shoots they’re convinced it’s going in.
“Sometimes I go, `Oh boy’ because I think it’s rushed. I think it maybe it’s come a little quicker than I would like it to, that maybe she’s not as open as I think she could be.’ And even those that I think are questionable end up being just pure. But what’s changed about her too is (Monday) during that (17-0) run (to open the second half) she was everywhere. It wasn’t just standing there and shooting 3s. She was everywhere. And God bless her. I don’t know where we’d be without her.’’