HUSKIES WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
UConn faces Kansas State in NCAA second round matchup
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2012 23:03
While UConn students were on their spring break, the women’s basketball team was getting their final practices in before the most important time of the season, the NCAA Tournament.
Fresh off of the momentum from their last game, a 63-54 win against Notre Dame in the Big East Tournament Championship Game, UConn rolled over Prarie View A&M 83-47 in the first round.
Freshman forward Kaleena Mosqueda Lewis led the Huskies in scoring with 21 points, she also had seven rebounds.
“She’s pretty efficient with her shots,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma told the Associated Press of Lewis. “She doesn’t need a lot of shots and that’s one thing that maybe helps her score a lot of points quickly. She takes advantage of the opportunities she gets. Going forward, if she plays like this every night, we have a chance.”
Mosqueda Lewis did not look at all intimidated by the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament and was able to play solid basketball without being passive.
“We’ve talked a lot about the level of aggressiveness she needs to have in the tournament,” Aureimma said. “Most of the teams we’ll play are pretty good and, generally speaking, those teams don’t lose. You have to knock them out.”Mosqueda Lewis’ 21 points brought her total on the season to 511, making her the third freshman in UConn history to reach at least 500 points.
“It feels good to finally be a part of it [the Huskies’ postseason history],” Mosqueda-Lewis, told the Hartford Courant after the game. “But everyone has done such a great job of preparing me for this. I had no reason to be nervous.”
Guard Bria Hartley added 18 points and five assists. Center Stefanie Dolson contributed 15 points, all of which came in the first half.
Tonight, UConn looks to go even further into the tournament when the Huskies take on the Kansas State Wildcats in the second and last game in Bridgeport.
Saturday night, the No. 8 seed Wildcats squeaked by their first round match against No. 9 seed Princeton with a 67-64 win.
Kansas State senior forward Branshea Brown scored her career high with 22 points and she also snagged seven rebounds on the night. Jalana Childs added another 15 points for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats’ coach Deb Patterson told the Associated Press after the game that Brown was the game changer for Kansas State.
For the Huskies to advance into the regional in Kingston, RI next week, they are going to have to contain Brown and Childs after their hot games.
Though the odds don’t seem to be in the Wildcats’ favor, the players are glad to be this far in the tournament.
“I’m excited to be in the second round,” Childs said. “It’s my last tournament, so I’m going to make the most of it.”
Tipoff for tonight’s game is at 7:05 p.m. and it can be seen on television on ESPN2 and online at ESPN3.