No.1 UConn routs Memphis 87-24, clinches American title
STORRS, Conn. (AP) UConn’s two seniors hit career milestones in their final home game and helped their team to another one.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored her 2,000th point, Kiah Stokes blocked her 300th shot and the top-ranked Huskies routed Memphis 87-24 Saturday to secure their 21st regular-season conference championship, and their second in the American Athletic Conference.
Mosqueda-Lewis had 21 points to lead the Huskies (28-1, 17-0 American) who have not lost a conference game since the inception of the AAC at the start of last season.
”It’s exciting to be able to be able to share it with my teammates and continue something great that has been here since we were in the Big East,” Mosqueda-Lewis said.
Breanna Stewart added 20 points and eight rebounds and UConn freshman Gabby Williams had 16 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double.
Ariel Hearn had seven points on 3-of-20 shooting to lead Memphis (13-15, 7-10 American), which made just 11 of its 57 shots from the field.
Mosqueda-Lewis hit eight of her 11 shots and had five 3-pointers. Her second, part of UConn’s opening 10-2 run, pushed her past the 2,000-point plateau in her career.
The Huskies used a 31-0 first-half run, sparked by Stokes’ milestone block, to put the game away.
”I’m glad I did my part,” Stokes said. ”I block and get rebounds. She made her shot. That’s her part.”
Memphis missed 12 shots and was held scoreless for 10 1/2 minutes, before Hearn hit a 3-pointer to end the drought with UConn up 41-7. The Huskies led 54-9 at the half.
UConn outscored the Tigers 52-10 in the paint and outrebounded Memphis 52-22.
”It’s completely mental,” said Memphis coach Melissa McFerrin. ”That was really the speech I gave before the game, was that if you can’t fix mistakes mentally when things go bad, things become compounded, and that’s what happened.”
Mosqueda-Lewis was 5 of 8 from behind the arc. She came into the game leading the nation in 3-point shooting, hitting 45 percent.
Stokes, UConn’s only other senior, finished with four points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
She has 124 blocks this season, just behind Rebecca Lobo’s single-season school record of 131. She is the fourth player in UConn history to block 300 or more shots, joining Lobo (396), Kara Wolters (370) and Tina Charles (304). Her 302 career blocks come despite starting just four games.
”She might not break whatever the record is for most blocked shots by anybody ever, whatever the record is,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. ”But the record for most blocked shots per minutes played – I don’t think anyone has her record.”
Moriah Jefferson added 12 points and six assists for the Huskies.
It was the 27th straight win for UConn, which is beating opponents by more than 42 points a game. The Huskies only loss in the last 75 games came in the second game of season at Stanford.
UConn: Mosqueda-Lewis had her name placed on UConn’s Huskies of Honor wall before the game, becoming the 16th women’s player recognized by the school with a plaque. UConn is 136-10 during Mosqueda-Lewis and Stokes’ four years at the school.
Memphis: The Tigers had been giving up just 61 points a game coming into Saturday’s contest, but averaged just under 60. The 34 points in their first game against UConn was their previous low for the season. This was the second lowest offensive total in school history only surpassed by the 22 that the Tigers put up against Lambuth in the 1972-73 season.
STEWART 2000: The reigning AP player of the year also has a shot at reaching the 2,000 point plateau this season. Her 20 points gives the junior 1,768 in just 105 games. She ranks 14th on the school’s all-time list, just behind Stefanie Dolson, who scored 1,797 in 154 games.
UConn: The Huskies finish the regular season on Monday at USF.
Memphis: The Tigers head home to play SMU, before traveling back to Connecticut for next weekend’s conference tournament, which will be played about 30 miles away at the Mohegan Sun arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.