No. 2 UConn 67, No. 10 Penn St. 52

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis didn’t know until shootaround Thursday

that she would be able to play on her injured left leg.

She ended up scoring a season-high 25 points as No. 2

Connecticut pulled away in the second half to beat No. 10 Penn

State 67-52.

”I was happy that I was able to come out and perform and help

my team out,” she said. ”I spent the last two days in the

training room, and that paid off.”

Brianna Banks added 10 points for the Huskies (8-0), who won

their fourth game this season against a ranked opponent and their

second this week against a top 10 team. UConn beat No. 9 Maryland

63-48 on Monday.

Maggie Lucas scored 15 points and Ariel Edwards added 10 for

Penn State (6-2), which trailed by just six points at halftime and

by three early in the second half.

”We were right there,” Lucas said. ”But we take no moral

victory out of this. We just want to get better.”

Mosqueda-Lewis started the game despite a left thigh bruise that

kept her out of more than half of the win over Maryland. She hit

four of her seven shots from 3-point range and added five

rebounds.

”We don’t expect anything less from her,” Banks said. ”That’s

what she does. That’s her role on the team. Whenever we need a big

bucket, we go to K.”

Banks played a big role, too. Penn State had closed to 32-29 on

a layup by Talia East with 16 minutes left. But a floater by Banks

gave UConn an eight-point lead and she made it 40-31 with another

short jumper with 12:25 to go.

Connecticut turned on the defensive pressure, getting three

steals in a little more than a minute that turned into three

layups, two by freshman Moriah Jefferson, and a 51-36 lead.

It was 53-41 before a 9-0 Huskies run that put the game

away.

”These last two games were dogfights,” Jefferson said. ”In

dogfights a lot of times we get a spurt of energy and a burst,

where we finally get there and get on that lead.”

Penn State had a lead twice in the first half. The first came

when Lucas scored five straight points to make it 16-14.

Until that point, UConn had trailed for just 17 seconds this

season.

The Huskies were down 18-16 before closing the half on a 12-4

run over the last 9:21 to lead 28-22 at the break.

UConn, which came in averaging just more than 7.5 turnovers a

game, had 10 at halftime and only eight field goals.

Mosqueda-Lewis scored seven of the Huskies’ first 10 points. The

sophomore missed the previous game against Colgate after sustaining

a concussion against Purdue on Nov. 24.

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma picked up his first technical

foul of the season 33 seconds into the second half after Stefanie

Dolson was hit with a touch foul while trapping on defense. The

teams combined for 38 fouls, 16 on UConn and 22 on Penn State. But

Lucas was the only player to foul out, with 54 seconds left and the

game already decided.

”I didn’t think the referees called the game like there were

two top 10 teams playing on the floor,” Penn State coach Coquese

Washington said. ”I think that’s unfortunate. I don’t think the

fans and anybody watching on TV got to see the kind of basketball

that both teams are capable of playing.”

The Huskies have beaten their ranked opponents by an average of

24 points. UConn is 187-58 against ranked teams and 85-41 against

top 10 opponents

Penn State’s only other loss came a week ago to Miami when the

Lions turned the ball over 29 times. They had 26 turnovers in this

one, but forced 20 by UConn.

UConn has won eight straight against Penn State, including a

77-59 victory in last season’s NCAA regional semifinals in Rhode

Island.

This was the first time that the Lions have been in a battle of

top 10 teams since losing to UConn in the 2004 NCAA regional

finals.

Connecticut will travel to Penn State next season as part of the

home-and-home series.