PILLAGING THE PIRATES
UConn defeats Seton Hall 90-30 on Senior Day
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 24, 2013 22:02
The pregame ceremony may have been all about the seniors, but it wasn’t just the outgoing players that made headlines.
Breanna Stewart had what looked like a potential re-emergence and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kelly Faris both reached the 1,000-point mark in the UConn women’s basketball team’s 90-30 win over Seton Hall on Saturday.
Faris, one of the three seniors, along with Caroline Doty and Heather Buck, was honored before the game and entered the afternoon 18 points shy of the milestone. But after tallying 10 in the first half, it seemed certain that she would hit the mark, as the Huskies worked hard to get her the ball and open looks throughout the closing 20 minutes.
The moment finally came with 6:20 remaining, as Faris stripped Alexis Brown and finished a layup in transition.
“I don’t know that anybody could ask for a better opportunity and a better time for it to come,” Faris said of her milestone. “Honestly, I knew I was close just because of all the talk, but I didn’t know the exact points. And then once my teammates started trying to get me open quite a bit, I realized what they were doing. It was nice, it was really nice to know that I had a whole team and coaching staff behind me trying to get me that personal accomplishment.”
Faris also dealt out seven helpers on the afternoon and now has 500 career assists.
Mosqueda-Lewis’ milestone moment came far earlier in the evening, as she required just six points to reach the mark.
Just 3:57 into the evening, she hit her second three-pointer of the night to reach the 1,000-point mark. She hit her first four shots from behind the arc in the game, en route to 18 points on the strength of a 4-5 effort from long range and a 6-8 night from the field.
Sharing the moment with Faris, Mosqueda-Lewis said, made it all the more special to her.
“I wouldn’t have rather had scored my 1,000th point with anybody else,” Mosqueda-Lewis said.
In addition to a milestone night for Faris and Mosqueda-Lewis, Saturday was somewhat of a second coming-out party for Stewart.
In the first half, Stewart – who has struggled recently, especially in the month of February, after a strong start to her career – racked up 10 points in 11 minutes. One 3 minute and 58 second stretch was particularly impressive, as she took control of the game and scored 10 of the Huskies 12 points during that time and added three offensive rebounds and a block.
Stewart finished the night with 16 points – her highest total since she scored 20 against Syracuse on Jan. 19 – and eight rebounds.
“I especially liked that her first couple plays were aggressive plays that weren’t standing around, waiting for something to happen,” UConn Coach Geno Auriemma said of his freshman center. They were the kind of plays where she was making things happen. And that’s how you get out of whatever’s bothering you.”
Stewart also hit her first three-pointer since Jan. 29 against Louisville, breaking what was an 0-for-12 dry spell over the previous six games.
Also of note in the milestone department was that the 60-point win was No. 400 for Auriemma in Big East play. True to form, he was unaware of the number in his postgame press conference.
“Just like 399, not that much different,” Auriemma said, when asked how he felt about reaching the mark, before crediting his players and staff with helping him get there.
The win bolstered his current squad’s record to 25-2 and 11-1 in the Big East. The Pirates fell to 9-18 and 4-10 in the conference with the loss.
The next step toward a new coaching milestone for Auriemma will come Tuesday night against Pittsburgh at the XL Center.
That game is set for a 7 p.m. tip-off and can be seen on SNY or heard on WTIC 1080 AM.