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UConn ready for roadtrip to Omaha

By Erica Brancato
On March 25, 2014

The No. 1 UConn women's basketball team already had their bags packed for Nebraska as they took a fast and early lead against Saint Joseph's and never looked back. The Huskies defeated the Hawks 91-52 and advanced to the Sweet 16 to play No. 12 BYU. 

"Connecticut is a wonderful team. They are obviously No. 1 for a reason," Saint Joe's head coach Cindy Griffin said. "When they came off making four three's at the start of the game, we knew we had our hands full."

One last hurrah 

Seniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley shined in their last game at Gampel Pavilion. Dolson had a strong start in the first half, as she set up the first play of the game and finished it herself with a layup. Hartley racked up 20 points throughout the matchup while Dolson added 17. Hartley has scored double digits in 16 of her 18 career NCAA Tournament games.  

"This is the best time of the year and I'm really proud of these two, Bria and Stef," head coach Geno Auriemma said. "It's been an incredible four years. I know I don't want it to end and I'm sure they don't either."

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Moriah Jefferson added to the seniors' stellar last home game as they each dominated both the frontcourt and backcourt. Mosqueda-Lewis racked up 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as she gained her second triple-double of the season. She is the third person in UConn history to get a triple-double. Dolson got one in November and the only other triple-double was in 1989.  

Mosqueda-Lewis also claimed the No. 19 spot on UConn's career scoring list this game as she put together one of her best games of the season. Jefferson continued her hot streak, scoring 11 points and directing the team toward success. Her performance in the post season has lifted her into the spotlight and she has yet to disappoint the onlookers.

"When we see (Kaleena) play the way she played tonight, we already know that she's more than just somebody that can make shots because we see her do it a lot," Auriemma said. "Deep down in her heart the way she played today is who she is, it just doesn't come out enough times."

What can't Stewie do?

It is no surprise this late in the season that when Breanna Stewart steps on the court, she will dominate all around. Leading the Huskies with 21 points, five blocks and 11 rebounds, she racked up her second consecutive double-double in the NCAA Tournament. She also became the fifth UConn player in program history to reach 695 points, and also racked up her 100th blocked shot of the season. 

"That kid does not stop working," Griffin said. "Once she steps out on the court, Stewart does not stop working. You can say that for all of them. I don't think you are going to outwork that team." 

Bittersweet victory 

Although the Huskies had no mercy on the Hawks, Auriemma has a soft spot for Saint Joe's every time the two teams match up. Without his start at the university in 1978, he wouldn't be where he is today, which makes it such a bittersweet win for the 28-year veteran. These types of games make Auriemma sit back and reflect on their team's success, he said.

"In our world sometimes we spend so much time thinking about what's next. Where are we going next? Who are we playing next?" Auriemma said. "We don't really take a moment and say 'man this is what we are doing and this is what we've done.' When you do take that moment, you realize that it's pretty unique and special. It's something that we have created here through a lot of hard work and great players."



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