Women's Basketball: No. 1 UConn held to lowest point total of season in win
Published: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Updated: Sunday, February 16, 2014 22:02
Considering the firepower of the UConn women’s basketball team, every game provides them with a chance at making history. Sunday’s 63-38 win over South Florida in Tampa Bay didn’t provide such a moment, but it did set up a pair of Huskies for a spot in the record books this week.
With 15 points on 6 of 12 shooting, Breanna Stewart inched to within two points of the 1,000 mark. In all likelihood, she will surpass that tally in the Huskies’ next game – No. 63 of the sophomore’s career, which would make her the second-fastest UConn player to ever reach the milestone, behind only Maya Moore’s 55 games.
Bria Hartley, who tallied 18 points, two assists and four boards on Sunday, will also enter Wednesday night with a chance at history. Three rebounds will give the senior guard 1,500 points, 500 assists and 500 rebounds for her career, making her just the third Husky to ever join that club. Only Moore and Diana Taurasi have accomplished it thus far.
Stewart and Hartley continue their benchmark quest against Central Florida Wednesday night at the XL Center. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
In the meantime, No. 1 UConn (26-0, 13-0 American Athletic Conference) continued its now 32-game winning streak at the expense of the Bulls.
While USF’s 25-point loss may not seem like just another defeat at the hands of the Huskies, the Bulls should take one thing away from the defeat–UConn’s 63 points was its lowest output of the season, falling short of their previous low of 66 against Baylor.
While their defense produced, it was the offensive side of the ball that let USF down. The Bulls were held to just 19.4 percent shooting in the first half and connected on just five of their 18 attempts from behind the arc on the night.
Stewart and Stefanie Dolson continued the Huskies’ shot-blocking brigade in the paint with three rejections each. The 5-foot-7 Moriah Jefferson chipped in with another.
The win came without the services of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who was diagnosed this week with mononucleosis after complaining of fatigue. As a result, UConn has announced that she will miss three to six weeks of action. The current plan is for her to be retested in about two weeks, at which time doctors will reassess how her spleen has recovered from the illness.
“It’s been one hit after the next,” said Mosqueda-Lewis, who missed about five weeks earlier in the season with an elbow injury. “But I’m just trying to stay positive and get back as soon as possible.”
UConn also spent much of the night without Brianna Banks, who has been fighting an ankle injury for the last few weeks. Entering Sunday, Banks had missed two straight games and three of the last five. As of Friday, the junior guard planned on being able to play and log serious minutes Sunday, but she only played the final 1:56 of the win and did not appear before that point.
Banks’ injury and Mosqueda-Lewis’ illness left the Huskies with just six scholarship players at its disposal for most of the night.
“It does get a little bit frustrating,” said coach Geno Auriemma after Friday’s practice, “but only because of what we can and can’t do in practice, only because of how you feel about those guys that can’t play. You know how bad they want to play; you know how competitive they are. But in terms of our ability to win games, that hasn’t changed.”