NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 09: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis #23 of the Connecticut Huskies handles the ball against Antonita Slaughter #4 of the Louisville Cardinals in the second half during the 2013 NCAA Women's Final Four Championship at New Orleans Arena on April 9, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
For the first time since mid-November, the top-ranked Huskies expect to have Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (arm) and Morgan Tuck (knee) in the lineup and the timing couldn't be better. The team is currently on the tail-end of a 12-day break and on Tuesday they'll travel to Durham to face No. 2 Duke.
“It’s a big relief,” Mosqueda-Lewis said after practice Sunday, via SNY.com. “It was like every time we turned around early in the season someone was out with a little injury. Then we’d get them back and the next person was out. Now that we have everyone back and able to practice, it feels like we have a whole team again and every weapon possible.”
And Kiah Stokes, who was sidelined for UConn's last game with an ankle injury, will also return to the lineup. (If nothing else, it's a testament to this team's depth; they made easy work of UC Davis with just six scholarship players last week.)
“You hate being out and Kaleena and I have been out for about a month,” Tuck said. “We were down to six, seven people and now for us to all be together … Doing what we did showed what our whole team is about and what we’re made of. We don’t depend on one or two people. We’re a team.
“But we’re ready to get out there and play a game. We missed eight games. We’re very excited. This is the most excited we’ve been for practice just because we haven’t been out there. And we’re definitely excited to play the game.”
As for how long KML and Tuck will play has yet to be determined. It will be their first game action in five weeks.
“It’s just a matter of how much they can play given the fact they haven’t played,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.
“Kaleena’s been going through practice depending on how she feels. Some practices it’s been an hour, some practices it’s been 45 minutes, some practices it’s been and hour and 15 minutes. It depends day to day and we’ll see how she feels Tuesday and will determine how much she is going to play.
“Same with Morgan," Auriemma continued. "We don’t want to throw them in right away when you haven’t done anything for four weeks or five weeks. I don’t know if you want to put them out there for two hours every day right off the bat. We’re trying to work them in to the best of their ability without compromising everything they’ve done.”