It's here. First Night festivities kickoff Friday evening, the official start to the 2013-14 basketball season for the men's and women's teams. For Kevin Ollie's crew, that means building on last year's 20 wins, and this time they're eligible for the AAC and NCAA Tournaments. For Geno Auriemma's bunch, it means defending their national title, the eighth in the last quarter-century.
Junior sharp-shooter Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is looking at First Night as a fresh start. A chance to turn the page on all the success from a season ago, but with the plans to write a new, just-as-successful chapter in the coming months.
“We’re really not so much focused on what happened last year as we are focused on what is going to happen this year,” Mosqueda-Lewis said, via SNY.com. “We know it is a new year and that we will have to prove ourselves again, and we are definitely ready for that. Even though we were all part of a national championship, we definitely feel like we could have been better so that makes this year exciting to start fresh.”
Mosqueda-Lewis is one of the best players in college basketball. And part of what makes her great is that she's continually pushing herself to get better, something that -- subconsciously or otherwise -- can be hard to do when success surrounds you.
“I’m trying to play better off the ball," she said. "I’ve been trying to get into the post a lot more. In the past it was just when I had smaller people guarding me. Now I might have to play against girls that are taller so I have to find ways to get around them. …
“We are confident and excited because we have veterans and because we have all done something this summer and have played well,” she continued. “We’ve gotten better so we’re all excited to put it to use on the court."
The fun officially starts … now.