Fighting Irish edge out Huskies in a tight one
Published: Saturday, January 5, 2013
Updated: Saturday, January 5, 2013 20:01
In a contest that saw the lead change nine times, the No. 1 UConn women’s basketball team fell to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 73-72 in front of a sold-out crowd at Gampel Pavilion.
The Huskies were down just one point with six seconds left in the game when a wide open Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis attempted a three pointer to win the game, but just missed it to give Notre Dame the victory. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma was not upset about Lewis taking the shot to win the game.
“You have the best three point shooter in the country with a wide open three to win it and it didn’t go in,” Auriemma said. “I would be more upset if the wrong guy took the wrong shot at the wrong time.”
Lewis, along with junior Stefanie Dolson led UConn with 17 points on the afternoon. Lewis also earned four fouls during the course of the afternoon which limited her play in the second half. After the game, Lewis said that the Huskies learned a lot in their loss to the Irish.
“Today was really a test to see where you’re at when you play a team like Notre Dame,” Lewis said. “I give a lot of credit to them, they played smart and they played tough. They did not let our crowd get into their heads and it came out in their favor.”
Notre Dame guards Skylar Diggins and Kayla McBride were the Irish’s top performers of the game. Diggins recorded 19 points on the afternoon to complement McBrdie’s 21-point performance. Diggins also recorded six rebounds. Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw was pleased with the way that Diggins has played in her last couple of games for the Irish.
“Skylar has changed the mindset,” said McGraw. “She has the confidence that’s contagious and I think everyone feels that way after being around her.”
In the first half UConn shot 35.9 percent from the field while Notre Dame shot 38.2 percent. Notre Dame led by nine points with 6:56 remaining in the half but the Huskies were able to battle back and to come within two points of the Irish lead, only trailing 38-36 at the half.
Freshman forward Breanna Stewart did not score any points in the first half, but quickly turned things around in the second half, scoring 10 points, grabbing nine boards and recording six blocks. Stewart did not make any adjustments to her game at halftime but recognized her team needed her through the rest of the contest.
“I was just trying to really come out and be more aggressive in the second half,” Stewart said. “I knew that I needed to help the team.”
One bright spot in UConn’s loss to Notre Dame was the performance of senior guard Kelly Faris, as she recorded the second double-double of her career. Faris scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
This was UConn’s first loss in a Big East home opener since 1989; previously the Huskies had won 24 straight Big East home openers. Moving forward, Auriemma said that today’s loss is not necessarily a negative thing for some of the players on his team.
“A game like this probably does some guys on our team more good than a win could do,” Auriemma said. “That’s what games this time a year are for.”