Head coach of the US team Geno Auriemma (2-R) speaks to his players during the match between the US and Senegal during the Women's FIBA World Basketball Championship 2010 in Ostrava on September 24, 2010. AFP PHOTO/JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
The UConn women's basketball team is still in Italy, still enjoying the sightseeing and still finding time to pound their opponents when it's actually time to hoop it up.
The Huskies made quick work of the Italian Select team on Friday, 98-52, before traveling to Florence Sunday to resume their working vacation.
Before heading north for the weekend, UConn picked up where it left off in its first exhibition game. Which is to say, sophomore center Stefanie Dolson led the way, scoring 22 points. And even though the Huskies won by 46 points, they only led 24-20 at halftime. Clearly, everything clicked in the second half:
"I think our defense picked up in the second quarter," Dolson said, according to a report from the UConn Sports Information Department. "We started communicating better and getting a lot of stops on the defensive end. Those stops led to some transition opportunities and some easy baskets and that allowed us to stretch the lead."
But Dolson didn't do it alone. Head coach Geno Auriemma said the trip was to help build chemistry and relationships, particularly for the incoming freshmen class. Well, the newcomers seem to be assimilating quite nicely.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, one of the best high school players in the country last season, also dropped 22 points and she jump-started the Huskies' blowout when she drained five-straight 3-pointers to give UConn a 79-47 lead after three quarters. For the game, she was 8 of 14, and 6 of 11 from behind the arc. If UConn had a weakness last season it was from the perimeter. Mosqueda-Lewis could single-handedly solve that problem.
Brianna Banks, another highly recruited freshman, scored 11 points, and sophomore point guard Bria Hartley added 10. Junior guard Kelly Faris was in mid-season form, scoring six points, and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with five assists.
UConn plays their next game on Monday when they take on the Nigerian National Team.