The top-ranked Huskies might be 25-0 and coming off their latest blowout win, this time against Louisville, whom they met in the NCAA Championship game last season, but if Geno Auriemma's team has one potential weakness it's this: Depth.
Morgan Tuck was lost to season-ending surgery after scoring a career-high 19 points in early January. And Sunday against the Cardinals, some three months after Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis missed eight games with a right elbow injury, the sharpshooting junior fell awkwardly on her left elbow. She would return for the second half but missed her only shot and lasted just seven minutes.
The good news is that Mosequeda-Lewis' latest injury doesn't appear to be serious.
"I think Kaleena was very worried because she'd injured her [other] elbow before," senior guard Bria Hartley said, via the Hartford Courant. "But it doesn't seem as bad."
Still, Auriemma's well aware that he needs to keep everybody healthy for the stretch run through the conference and NCAA tournaments.
"We've been there since the decision was made for Morgan to have her surgery," Auriemma said. "That put us in a really tough spot because now all you need is one more [injury] … Short of playing with four players, there's nothing that would need to happen to put us [deeper] into the danger zone.
"We can't afford anything else happening; a sprained ankle, three fouls in the first half, someone getting the flu at the wrong time. Everything has to go right from here on.
"As I told [broadcaster Rebecca Lobo] after the game, it's not easy to deal with right now. But I don't think anyone is going to have a telethon to send us a couple of extra players when we need them. It is what it is. This is who we have. And we need to manage it the best way we can. But it's not going to be easy the last two months."
Louisville coach Jeff Walz was less concerned about UConn's fate when he was asked if a team could make a title run with little bench depth.
"Of course you can," Walz said. "I say this again … it must be awful to have to play Breanna Stewart 37 minutes. I have no idea how [Auriemma] sleeps at night. Imagine him going home on Sunday knowing he had to play Moriah Jefferson 40 minutes and Stefanie Dolson for 39. I probably wouldn't be able to eat. Look who [he] is playing. It's not like they are playing two walk-ons."
Walz makes a fine point and one that just about every one of UConn's opponents would agree with. That said, we understand why Auriemma would prefer not to head into March without a player of Mosqueda-Lewis' caliber.