DAVIS, Calif. (AP) Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ smooth shot is the best Geno Auriemma has seen, and that’s saying something.
”I mean at any level,” the Connecticut coach insisted. ”I get disappointed when she doesn’t take open shots and I get disappointed when she passes up open shots, because when you’re that gifted and that skilled, you should be looking, like tonight.”
Mosqueda-Lewis knocked down a career-high 10 3-pointers on the way to 30 points, and No. 1 UConn cruised to its 47th straight win with a 102-43 rout of UC Davis in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
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Breanna Stewart added 15 points, a career-best seven assists and six rebounds for the hot-shooting Huskies, and the two-time defending NCAA champions went on a 39-0 run spanning 15 minutes, 43 seconds from midway through the first half to Rachel Nagel’s 3 at the 13:16 mark of the second for UC Davis. It is believed to be among the biggest runs in UConn program history.
Mosqueda-Lewis matched Maya Moore’s record for most 3-pointers, which Moore did on Jan. 17, 2009, against Syracuse in Hartford. The Huskies’ 18 total 3s tied the school record set in that same game.
Mosqueda-Lewis, playing in front of family and friends in her home state of California, sat out the final 11:31 on Friday.
”She came out and really put on a show for everyone,” Stewart said. ”I told her to do that. I’m glad she listened.”
UConn faced the Aggies of the Big West Conference as a nice tuneup in Northern California ahead of a marquee matchup at sixth-ranked Stanford on Monday night in a rematch of the national semifinals last spring.
The Huskies held a 45-22 rebounding edge, too.
”It’s a good way to go into Monday,” Mosqueda-Lewis said.
Mosqueda-Lewis scored 18 of her points in the first half and finished 10 of 13 on 3s – shooting only from long range. UConn used a 23-0 run over the final 8:57 of the first half for a 58-20 lead at intermission.
Moriah Jefferson had 13 points and seven assists for UConn.
Auriemma’s Huskies hit four straight 3-pointers to start the game and wound up shooting 64 percent from beyond the arc and 57 percent overall from the floor. UConn went 40-0 during its championship run last season, and sure seems poised to go for a three-peat.
UC Davis junior starting forward Celia Marfone went down beneath her own basket when her left knee buckled as she tried to stop with just more than a minute remaining in the first half. Marfone was helped off the court, fighting tears of pain.
The Huskies hit 11 of 16 first-half 3s for 69 percent, then seven more over the final 20 minutes.
UConn – which added four 6-foot guards this season to boost its star-filled roster – opened on the road for the first time in 15 years, returning a home-and-home agreement after beating the Aggies 97-37 last December in Hartford.
UC Davis faced the top-ranked team in the nation for the third straight season and a top-five opponent for the fourth consecutive year. Coach Jennifer Gross focused on what her team could do.
”I didn’t look at the scoreboard much,” Gross said. ”I was more worried about whether we were boxing out, running the offense and playing hard for 40 minutes.”
WINE COUNTRY BREAK
Auriemma looked forward to a short respite Saturday before heading to Stanford. He will visit the Napa wine country.
”I’ve got some winemaker friends there I’ll see,” he said.
The Huskies improved to 26-4 in regular-season openers under 30th-year coach Auriemma and own a 19-game winning streak in openers since losing 83-81 to Louisiana Tech on Nov. 19, 1995. … UC Davis drew 4,712 fans to The Pavilion, a record for a women’s basketball game. It topped 4,675 against Chico State in 1999.
”You know how I feel when we walk into buildings and that’s the case, I think it’s great for women’s basketball, it’s great for the home team,” Auriemma said. ”I just always wish they would play really, really well so a lot of these people would come back.”
UConn faces Stanford on Monday night in a rematch of last season’s national semifinal.