When Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is fully healthy she is the top 3-point shooter in the nation. That is her specialty. But that is not what she wants to be known for. She wants to be recognized as an all-around player. One that can hurt teams in a variety of ways.
Mosqueda-Lewis made only one of her four 3-point attempts today against 12th-seeded BYU in the Lincoln Regional semifinals. Yet, she proved to be the primary reason why the Huskies advanced to the Elite Eight for the ninth straight season as she finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds (career-high eight offensive), four assists and one steal in a season-high 36 minutes.
“It just seemed that K was in the middle of every play,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “She made a really tough (jumper) down at the other end in the first half with a kid right in her face that I thought was really big shot for us. And then I thought the key to the game was the offensive rebounds that she got.
“You don’t expect that of her, but the last couple of games she’s just been unbelievable. And we talked about that in the huddle in the locker room, when it’s time to win it’s time to make plays. You can’t talk about it any more. You can’t draw up anything anymore. Now it’s about your best players making great plays. And the last two games K has just been unbelievable at both ends of the floor.’’
Mosqueda-Lewis is averaging 19.5 points, 11.5 rebounds (7.0 offensive) and 7.0 assists over the last two games. She had the third triple-double in team history against Saint Joseph’s in the second round.
“I’ve been trying ever since my freshman year to become a more all-around player, to be more versatile and do everything,’’ Mosqueda-Lewis said. “And I think that as I get older more and more I’m doing that.’’
Mosqueda-Lewis had three points, two rebounds and two assists in a span of 1:48 in the second half to fuel a 10-0 run by the Huskies that snapped a 37-37 tie. Overall, she produced nine of her 19 points, nine of her 13 rebounds and six of her eight offensive rebounds in 16 minutes in the half
Mosqueda also had two of her three putbacks in the second half.
“I think it’s just mindset,’’ Mosqueda-Lewis said referring to rebounding. “It’s just matter of getting position. And, also, I think rebounds have a lot to do with luck a little bit sometimes. You happen to be under the basket at the time and it comes off the right way.
“I was just trying to get in there as much as possible. Just trying to get us second-chance shots because I knew we really weren’t knocking down the shots that we usually did. And so just trying to be as physical as I could and Stefanie (Dolson) was bringing the big girl (Jennifer Hamson) out so it was a good opportunity for us to get rebounds on the weak side.’’