BAYLOR PROVES UN-BEAR-ABLE
HARTFORD - UConn forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had a career night last night scoring 26 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, but it was not enough for the Huskies to defeat Baylor as they lost 76-70 in front of a capacity crowd at the XL Center in Hartford.
Mosqueda-Lewis kept UConn in game with her stellar performance, as she grabbed a career high eight offensive rebounds. Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey praised the UConn sophomore for her performance against the Lady Bears.
"She's a great player," said Mulkey. "She had a double-double at the half and we put our best defender on her and I don't know if Jordan Madden who was guarding her was doing a bad job. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that players are good."
In the first half, UConn came out firing on all cylinders as the Huskies started the game on a quick 6-0 run. Also in the first half, UConn's defensive pressure effectively shut down Brittney Griner by double-teaming the start Baylor guard.
Griner only managed to score four points in the first half, but she would finish the night with 25 points on the night after the Huskies' defense softened in the second half. Griner's 25th point was Two Huskies got into foul trouble early as Lewis picked up two fouls and junior guard Bria Hartley also picked up two fouls in quick succession. Head coach Geno Auriemma did alter his lineup on the floor as freshman Breanna Stewart played only four minutes of action in the first half.
Despite the incredible effort from Lewis, UConn only managed to shoot 37.5 percent from the field in the first half and only shot 3-12 from behind the arc, an area of the court where the Huskies have excelled from this season. UConn took a 29-26 lead into the locker room at the half but did not come out as strong defensively for the rest of the game.
At the 15:37 mark of the second half, Griner picked up a technical foul after taking down UConn center Stefanie Dolson behind the play. The Lady Bears would respond with an 8-0 run which started after Baylor guard Kimetria Hayden sank a corner three. Dolson recognized that teams like Baylor will try to play aggressive against herself and her teammates.
"From a loss you can always learn a lot of things from how you play and what you did, so there's definitely things that's were going to take from this," said Dolson. "It's just keeping our composure and making sure we don't lose each other in the offense and defensive end. We know a lot of teams are going to come out and try to push us and be extremely physical and aggressive with us."
The Huskies kept the score close as they only trailed by three points at the under-eight media timeout. Baylor proved to be too much to handle for UConn's defense in the second half as the Lady Bears shot 61.3 percent from the field. To make matters worse, UConn also committed 18 turnovers on the night.
Last night's loss is just UConn's second loss on the season after falling to Notre Dame on Jan. 5. Auriemma reiterated after the game that in order for the Huskies to defeat teams like Baylor his team needs to work together as a cohesive unit.
"We could have easily won this game but were not smart enough to win this game," said Auriemma. "I think individually our team has to understand that based on us as individuals it has to be a collective effort."
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