THE FINAL SHOWDOWN
UConn takes on Pitt in final home game
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 22:02
The No. 3 UConn women’s basketball team (25-2, 12-1 Big East) will play their final home game of the season at the XL Center tonight when the Pittsburgh Panthers come to Hartford.
The Huskies are coming off a dominating 90-30 victory over Seton Hall on Senior Day, in a game where senior guard Kelly Faris and sophomore forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each scored their 1,000th career point. Faris and Mosqueda-Lewis are the 37th and 38th members of the 1,000-point club and are looking to continue their success against a struggling Panthers’ team.
“We’re human so it’s hard to say were going to approach every single game exactly the same but that’s the goal,” Faris said. “You have to come out every day in practice with the mindset that whatever were doing in practice is going to be the hardest thing we’re going to go through, so it doesn’t matter who were going to play next it’s supposed to be easy. So our hardest opponent is usually in practice and ourselves at times we become out own worst enemy.”
UConn enjoys a 40-9 strangle hold in the all-time series with Pittsburgh. The last time that the Huskies lost to the Panthers was on Feb. 24, 1993.
Another Husky who has continued to excel on the floor this season has been junior Stefanie Dolson. Dolson is now first in the nation in field goal percentage at 60.9 percent. She is ranked just above Texas A&M’s Kelsey Bone at 59 percent. Dolson has found success over Pittsburgh, as the 6-foot-5-inch center averaged 10 points and six rebounds in the previous two games she played against the Panthers.
Pittsburgh (9-17, 0-13 Big East) is coming off close 72-70 loss to Georgetown, when the Hoyas scored the game winning points with 0.7 seconds remaining in the game. The Panthers are led by their leading scorer, 5-foot-7-inch guard Brianna Kiesel. So far this season, Kiesel is averaging 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
The Panthers have struggled mightily against Big East opponents this season, after losing 13 straight games in conference play. In the Big East this year, Pittsburgh has shot .336 percent from the field, while their opponents have shot .423 percent against the Panthers’ defense.
Head coach Geno Auriemma said that it’s very difficult to win in the Big East Conference and sometimes teams get into a rough cycle, such as the one the Panthers are currently in.
“It’s hard to win period in our league,” Auriemma said of Big East Conference cycles. “If you get into a bad cycle it’s hard to snap out of it.”
Tip-off between Pittsburgh and UConn from the XL Center in Hartford is scheduled for 7:06 p.m. and the game can been seen live on SNY or heard on WTIC 1080.