UConn’s Mosqueda-Lewis dealing with expectations

With her hair tied high in a bun, the same No. 23 on her jersey

and a sweet jump shot, it’s easy to see how Connecticut fans might

confuse freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis with Maya Moore.

But coach Geno Auriemma hopes no one expects last year’s

national high school player of the year to replace Moore, who led

the Huskies to two national championships, four Final Fours and was

twice named the AP’s national player of the year.

”It’s just not going to happen,” Auriemma said Wednesday

during the Huskies’ annual media day news conference. ”Now, if it

does, I’ll be the first one to say, ‘Damn, that was


Mosqueda-Lewis, who doesn’t turn 18 until November, wore 23 in

high school and had to get Moore’s permission to wear the number at

UConn. She starts her career at UConn with high expectations for

herself, but said this season her goals are just to bring some

rebounding, shooting and energy to an already talented team.

”I kind of have to look at it a different way,” she said.

”Maya was a great person, a great player and one of the best to

come out of Connecticut. All that I can hope to do is to play my

best. And if I happen to win some national championships along the

way, then I’m blessed.”

Auriemma said Mosqueda-Lewis and Moore share a lot of qualities,

including an amazing work ethic and a desire to be great.

”She shoots it as well, if not better than Maya,” he said.

”But to expect her to be all those other things, I think that’s

asking too much.”

Mosqueda-Lewis heads a highly touted freshman class at UConn

that also includes guard Brianna Banks and center Kiah Stokes.

They join a host of veterans from last year’s Final Four team,

including returning starters Bria Hartley, Stephanie Dolson,

Tiffany Hayes, and Caroline Doty, who sat out last year with a knee


But without Moore, Auriemma has already tempered expectations,

telling those who will listen that he doesn’t expect this team to

win a national title.

”It’s going to be frustrating at times, for coaches, for

players, for everybody,” he said. ”I think there is going to be a

lot of frustrations at times, because the expectation level here is

so high that we have to be careful that the kids don’t feel like,

well I’m not living up to the expectation levels post-Maya.”

But the players don’t want to hear that. Doty said she looks at

her new teammates as the top recruits in the nation, and said she

doesn’t expect the Huskies to miss a beat.

”They wouldn’t bring in just anybody,” she said. ”Our

expectations are to go to the Final Four and win the national


But she said it’s also important for Mosqueda-Lewis to not let

those expectations overwhelm her.

”If she just worries about her being her and doesn’t try to be

somebody else or fill someone else’s shoes, she will be a great

player here,” she said. ”She has to remember, the No. 23 is just

a number.”