Hard Work Paid Off For Mosqueda-Lewis - NBC Connecticut
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Hard Work Paid Off For Mosqueda-Lewis

By the time she was 15, the Huskies had offered Mosqueda-Lewis a scholarship.

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    Hard Work Paid Off For Mosqueda-Lewis
    AP
    Connecticut's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (23) drives past Memphis' Ariel Hearn (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn., on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

    After the Huskies' latest win, a 105-54 victory over Texas in the Sweet 16, senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is just four 3-pointers away from breaking the NCAA record held by former UConn great Diana Taurasi.

    And like most accomplishments of note, Mosqueda-Lewis didn't accidentally find herself in this position; instead, it's a culmination of hard work that started when she was 12.

    I didn’t want to wake up every morning at five in the morning,” Mosqueda-Lewis said, according to the Troy Record. “I didn’t want to do it all the time. But my dad told me if you want to be as great as you say you do, then this is what it takes, this is what you have to do. Sometimes he had to drag me out of bed but I did it every morning before school.”

    Turns out, consistently making baskets from just about anywhere on the court got Mosqueda-Lewis noticed. By the time she was 15, the Huskies offered her a scholarship.

    “As soon as Connecticut started recruiting me, it was like the best thing for me," she said. "I was just like, I’ve heard of all the players that have gone to Connecticut and I’ve heard Coach Auriemma is a little crazy, but look at the player he’s producing. So I don’t mind playing under him. For me, as soon as I came to the campus, I got to know the girls, I got to know the coaches and I realized that if I was going to go to Connecticut, I wouldn’t mind being so far away from home.”

    And while playing for Auriemma isn't for everyone, it's made Mosqueda-Lewis, who could be the first-overall pick in the WNBA Draft later this spring, a well-rounded player.

    “Before I got here I was really just known as a shooter and Coach Auriemma really forced me to be more than that,” she said. “He pushed me to be more than that. He said, ‘You know, if you want to be a great player, if you want to be someone who is going to leave a mark on Connecticut basketball then you’re going to have to be able to play defense, you’re going to have to be able to go to the basket, you’re going to have to be able to shoot from the outside.’”

    The Huskies face Dayton on Monday for a chance to return to the Final Four. It will also be the latest opportunity for Mosqueda-Lewis to cement her legacy as one of the best long-range shooters in NCAA history.

    “That would be just a dream,” she said of the 3-point record. “Growing up, watching Diana Taurasi, watching Sue Bird and all of them make history and become as great of players as they are now, just to be mentioned in the same breath as them is something that I’ve thought about ever since I was a little kid.”