Women's Basketball Notebook: Rebounding edge crucial in win over Cardinals
The UConn women's basketball team didn't dominate Louisville on the scoreboard in their 81-64 win, but they certainly dominated on the glass, especially early. And for a team that has said rebounding its biggest weakness, raking in misses at such an impressive rate Sunday could be a shot in the arm.
The Huskies won the battle on the boards 39-36 Sunday, but most impressive might have been their tally on the offensive glass. 13 offensive rebounds, 11 of which came in the first half, is tied for their third-highest total of the season.
UConn's opponent is no rebounding slouch, either. The Cardinals entered the day No. 13 in the country in rebounding margin at 9.8 and averaged 44.8 rebounds over their first 24 games.
"We knew that Louisville was going to come crash the boards pretty hard," Breanna Stewart said. "I think that we did a pretty good job of stopping them doing that."
UConn's rebounding edge was far more pronounced in the first half, as they led 23-13 in that category before the break. Despite losing some of that advantage as the game progressed, coach Geno Auriemma was still pleased with the way his squad played in that aspect of the game during the final 20 minutes.
"The longer the game goes and the more shots you miss, when you get down by 20, all of a sudden you start going to the offensive glass a little bit harder," Auriemma said of Louisville's adjustment. "The more they went and took a chance - they got more rebounds in the second half and they gave up more transition baskets in the second half. So that's the trade-off and we're OK with that."
The effort on the glass was mostly a two-headed effort - Stewart and Stefanie Dolson had 10 and nine boards, respectively.
It's the elbow, again
The scene was eerily familiar. A brimming Gampel Pavilion, a play under the basket in front of the student section and a pained Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis in a heap on the floor.
It happened in November against No. 2 Stanford. It happened again Sunday. The first time it was her right arm. This time, her left.
This time, however, the end result was seemingly less serious.
Mosqueda-Lewis sprinted back out of the UConn locker room a few seconds before the end of halftime and rejoined her team on the bench, sporting a black compression sleeve on the affected elbow for the start of the second half.
"From what I've been able to see, it's not as bad as what happened last time," Auriemma said. "[...]But right now, there's not that same sense of urgency that I saw the first time."
She played seven minutes of the final 20, but checked out of the game with 7:19 to play. In the short second-half stint, Mosqueda-Lewis took just one shot - a miss - and tallied one rebound, one assist and one turnover.
The injury came with 19 seconds left in the first half of the win; Mosqueda-Lewis went for a layup on a drive but was blocked by two Cardinals on the way up. The official call was a tie-up, resulting in a jump ball.
In the process, Mosqueda-Lewis crumpled to the ground and aggravated the elbow, grabbing at it in pain on the ground before UConn's athletic training staff rushed to her side. The scene this time was far more brief and far less dramatic than her prior injury - there were no real audible cries of pain and she was up and walking just a few moments later.
At halftime, the official word from UConn was a left elbow contusion. Auriemma said during his press conference that Mosqueda-Lewis was being examined and hoped to know more in the next day or so.
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