First, the good news: The top-ranked Huskies had little trouble with No. 3 Stanford Monday night, cruising to a 76-57 victory at Gampel Pavilion. It's the second time in as many regular-season matchups that UConn has been on the winning side of a blowout. Last December, the margin was 61-35.
Now the bad news: one of the Huskies' best talents, junior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, left in the second half with an arm injury and didn't return.
Coach Geno Auriemma offered this after the game:
"We are going to keep evaluating her tonight and then tomorrow morning see how she responds," he said. "They really do not know anything right now. She landed on her palm on the floor and then when her arm bent and her elbow hit the floor ... two separate things occurred that they are trying to figure out. We will know more after tomorrow morning.”
Not only is Mosqueda-Lewis one of the Huskies' top players, she's one of the best in the country, especially from the perimeter. It's to soon to know the extent of the injury but Auriemma talked after the loss about seeing a player who is rarely hurt have to leave the game.
“Kaleena is not one to be injured," he said. "From my standpoint, we are playing with our fingers crossed and going forward with the rest of the season. Anything that we see that looks like that, obviously, is disheartening a little bit.”
Whatever the diagnosis, it sounds like Mosqueda-Lewis won't play Friday against Maryland. And while the Huskies will miss her for however long she's sidelined, Auriemma does have something most teams covet: incredible depth, including Morgan Tuck, Kiah Stokes and the lone freshman on scholarship, Saniya Chong. All three players came off the bench to ensure UConn didn't miss a beat, first when Breanna Stewart found herself in first-half foul trouble and then after Mosqueda-Lewis' departure. All told, the trio combined for 27 points, 17 rebounds (13 via Stokes) and 6 blocks (all via Stokes).
[Saniya] is not afraid of anything," Auriemma said of the freshman's contributions. "I really admire the way she approaches games and practices. She made a bunch of really good plays today and Kiah played the best game she has played since she has been at Connecticut. She was unbelievably good in just about every area. I hope that is the beginning of something because that changes our team dramatically. Stewart and [Bria] Harley both got the quick fouls. I don’t know that we would’ve won the game without Kiah.”