It's hard to believe that Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is entering her senior season. It seems like it was three months -- not three years -- that the former high school player of the year was making her way to Storrs for the first time.
And yet here we are: two national championships later, one of the best pure shooters in college basketball is gearing up for her last go round. Along with Kiah Stokes, Mosqueda-Lewis is the only senior on the roster.
“There is definitely a lot more pressure, and a lot more responsibility,” she told SNY.com's Carl Adamec recently. “But the people on this team, they take care of themselves.”
That pressure is lessened considerably playing alongside rising junior Breanna Stewart, who also happens to be the best player in the country. Then there's point guard Moriah Jefferson, not to mention the highly touted incoming freshmen: Sadie Edwards, Courtney Ekmark, Kia Nurse, and Gabby Williams.
But like the seniors that preceded her -- Kelly Faris, Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson, for example -- Mosqueda-Lewis will be counted on to provide veteran leadership.
“I’m excited for this year,” she said. “It’s a new year, we have a great team, and I’m excited to play with the freshmen. Yeah, we lost Stef and Bria, but I’m really excited about what this year is going to bring.”
Earlier this summer, coach Geno Auriemma admitted that he wanted Mosqueda-Lewis in better shape after an injury-plagued 2013-14 season. And Mosqueda-Lewis is doing just that.
“Personally what I am working on right now is just getting in the best shape that I can,” she said. “I would like to go back to trying to get to the basket more, get fouled more. I didn’t really go to the basket as much and get fouled last year.”
And as Adamec notes, there's also another reason: a big senior season will in all likelihood translate into a high-round pick in the WNBA Draft.
“There is still a lot of work I have to do," Mosqueda-Lewis conceded, "and Coach will probably be the first person to tell you that.”