Junior All-American Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis has assembled a resume that is on par with the truly great players in the nation. She has led the Huskies in scoring in each of the past two seasons. She was named to the WBCA All-America team, which honors the Top 10 players in the country, and honored as a second team All-American by The Associated Press and was a member of the Final Four all-tournament team last season.
Mosqueda-Lewis was also a unanimous All-Big East first team pick as a sophomore. Apparently, her past success was lost when it came to selecting the American Athletic Conference Preseason Team. She did a earn a spot on the 10-member team, but she was not a unanimous pick as at least one coach felt that she was undeserving of a spot on the team.
“It’s got to be (a great league),’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said sarcastically. “She’s led our team in scoring the last two years. So maybe this league is a lot better than people are giving it credit for. And I’m anxious to see all these good players when they come up to Gampel and when we go down to play and against them. I’m sure Kaleena’s anxious to see them too.’’
UConn teammates Breanna Stewart and Stefanie Dolson were unanimous picks on the all-conference team. Stewart was tabbed as the Preseason Player of the Year.
A source said that Mosqueda-Lewis missed being named Preseason Player of the Year by one vote. That’s how bizarre it is that every coach did not have her on their All-AAC ballot.
“I do not know who that one coach was,’’ South Florida coach Jose Fernandez said. “I don’t know how you could miss out on that one. I have a lot of respect for her as a player and how well she played against us. You could go either way with her and Breanna Stewart for Player of the Year in the conference. I’m doing the ballot and you’re going, `OK, 1, 1A.’ I went with (Mosqueda-Lewis), the veteran.’’
Mosqueda-Lewis led the Huskies in scoring (17.6) and also averaged 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 30.2 minutes to establish career-highs in every category last season. She also led the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (.492) and made 3-pointers (118, a team single-season record) and averaged 18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in the NCAA tournament.
As expected, Mosqueda-Lewis publicly took the snub in stride.
“It’s not really going to alter whatever I do,’’ Mosqueda-Lewis said. “It’s just one coach. They were overruled a little bit. It’s not going to bother me that much. I’m going to go out and play against every team the same way that if all the coaches would’ve voted for me. I’m not going to let it really bother me that much.’’
Said Stewart: “Obviously, the preseason awards and accolades aren’t up to us. It’s up to the coaches. It’s not anything we can control so when we come out on the court we’re going to come out and play our best and I think that Kaleena is obviously, as you can see from last year played really well every game. And I’m sure she’ll do that this season.’’
Said Auriemma: “I don’t think it’s important who it is. That’s one thing we’ve got to make sure we don’t do is get caught up in some of the other stuff. It’s going to be difficult enough as it is (this season) I think to keep everyone going in the right direction.’’