Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis will begin her WNBA career in Seattle while former UConn teammate Kiah Stokes will do the same in New York, and Geno Auriemma thinks both programs are good fits for two players that played big roles in the Huskies' recent championship run.
“I think they both ended up in good spots,” Auriemma told SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “K is in with a young coach who’s trying to build a program. Kiah’s in with a team that she can do the things that she does. I think Kiah and K can end up being very successful.”
The Storm have standout point guard Sue Bird, and they also drafted Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd with the first-overall pick (Mosqueda-Lewis went No. 3).
“Hopefully the two of them can grow together alongside Sue. They’re all different as people and players as I think that’s good. So, it’s a great spot for K.”
Meanwhile, Stokes will join former Husky Tina Charles in New York.
“Tina will draw a lot of the attention there,” Auriemma said. “So Kiah doesn’t have to go in and be that franchise-type player. She can learn and grow and having a player like Tina around will help her do that."
But the biggest difference for Mosqueda-Lewis, a born scorer, will be her ability to become a better defender against the best players in the world.
“Defense is something that every single player has to work on,” former Husky Bria Hartley, who graduated in 2014, told Adamec. “Kaleena will do that and playing against great players will help her. Offensively, she doesn’t have to be a highlight reel. She needs to get open and make shots. There are enough playmakers around her there like Sue, Renee, Jewell, that will get her open shots. And having a great leader like Sue around will make the transition easier for her.”