There's nothing like an early season matchup of two heavyweights to see where your team stands. That's why these early season matchups are good for a team.
And on Monday night, we saw where the UConn Huskies women's basketball team is. If you're UConn head coach Geno Auriemma you're not totally happy but got a nice glimpse of the future.
With UConn unable to find the basket early on, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis came off the bench to get the Huskies going. And going she did as her 25 points helped them to a 68-58 win over the Stanford Cardinal in front of 13,771 at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.
UConn improves to 3-0 on the young season while the Cardinal fall to 3-1.
It was the second straight game in which KML scored 25 points and she added eight rebounds. Bria Hartley, who combined with KML to score 30 of UConn's 32 first half points, finished the evening with 19 points, three rebounds and four assists.
Tiffany Hayes had a rough shooting night like the rest of her team going 3-of-15 from the floor but finished with nine points, and game-highs of 13 rebounds and six assists. Stefanie Dolson added nine points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots.
The Cardinal were led by Nnemkadi Ogwumike's 22 points to along with eight rebounds. Jasmine Camp was the only other member of Stanford in double-digits with 14 points. Chiney Ogwumike led the Cardinal with 12 rebounds to go along with seven points.
It took three minutes and 18 seconds for the first points to be scored and that came when C. Ogwumike hit one of two at the free throw line. The Huskies would get on the board just 15 seconds later when Hayes hit two free throws.
UConn finally got a basket at the 13:27 mark when KML came off the bench and made a layup that started an 8-0 Huskies run. The run helped the Huskies to a 10-5 lead. Stanford kept it close as they got to within one at 15-14. Camp's three with 6:14 to in the half knotted the game at 19 and moments later Camp gave the Cardinal the lead again by two points.
With the scored tied at 23, Hartley and KML lead the Huskies on a 9-0 run before Stanford scored the final three points of the half to close UConn's lead to six at 32-26.
Stanford came out firing in the second half with a 10-2 run to a two point lead at 34-32. The game would stay close until UConn went on a 5-0 mini run to open up a five point lead at 43-38.
With UConn clinging to a three point lead at 45-42 and 11:13 to go in the game, they took control with a 6-0 run to push their lead to nine. The Cardinal would get no closer than six points the rest of the way.
Obviously there's a big concern about the way UConn shot the ball. But it was nice to see them be able to rebound from that poor shooting performance and seize control.
We knew KML was going to be special one day at UConn. But in just three games, she's showing just how important she is in the lineup. Things turned around for the better when she came in the first half and in the second half. They looked lost in the second half before she came in and you could even see a few of the players glancing over to the bench like come on coach, put in KML.
At least now, Geno knows what he's got and who can play in the big game. Sure it's still early, but they'll continue to get better as the season goes on.
The Huskies are back in action on Friday when they'll host Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round of the World Vision Classic at Gampel Pavilion. Tip is scheduled for approximately 7:30 p.m.
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Notes and musings:
Here are the postgame quotes from UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer.
Former UConn All-American Maya Moore was at the game shadowing former Husky Rebecca Lobo was broadcasting the game on ESPNU. Moore also stopped by to talk during the first half.
Former Husky All-American Sue Bird was also in attendance.
UConn has now won 85 straight home games with 41 of those coming at the XL Center.
From the AP: Both teams honored Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke and his assistant Miranda Serna who were killed in a plane crash Thursday night. UConn players wore an Oklahoma State logo above the Nike swoosh on their jersey and Stanford players wore orange shoelaces and ribbons in their hair. Both coaching staffs also had orange ribbons on in support. There was a moment of silence before the game.
If you missed this video about Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis that aired at halftime, be sure to check it out.
The starting five for the Huskies were Bria Hartley, Caroline Doty, Tiffany Hayes, Kelly Faris and Stefanie Dolson.
UConn shot an abysmal 35.7% (25-70) from the floor. The Cardinal were slightly better at 37.1% (23-62).
The Huskies had 16 assists on their 25 made baskets.
UConn was 7-of-31 (22.6%) on three pointers. Stanford was 4-of-12 (33.3%).
The Huskies didn't shoot the ball well from the charity stripe either as they were 11-of-21 (52.4%).
UConn barely won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Stanford 46-45.
The Huskies had 16 points off of 16 Cardinal turnovers. Stanford had seven points off of seven UConn turnovers.
UConn outscored Stanford 30-26 in the paint, 9-2 on the fast break and 15-12 on second chance points.
KML scored all 25 of UConn's bench points on the night.