By Carl Adamec
STORRS, Conn. — Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis not only played for the second-ranked University of Connecticut women’s basketball team Thursday night, she was the Huskies’ best player.
Which was a good thing for UConn.
Mosqueda-Lewis, whose status for the game was in doubt due to a left quad contusion suffered against Maryland Monday, had 25 points as the Huskies defeated No. 10 Penn State 67-52 before an announced crowd of 8,072 at Gampel Pavilion.
The sophomore forward was 8-for-13 from the floor and added five rebounds and four steals in her 35 minutes on the floor.
The game was closer than the final score indicates. In fact, the Huskies (8-0) found themselves in an unfamiliar spot midway through the first half.
UConn led by seven early but a 13-4 run put Penn State in front. When Maggie Lucas scored on a breakaway with 10:45 left in the half, it marked the first time the Huskies have trailed since giving up the season’s first basket against College of Charleston on Nov. 11.
Down 18-16, UConn regained the lead on consecutive baskets by Brianna Banks, Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson. Kelly Faris’ free throw accounted for a 28-22 halftime lead.
It was 42-36 when Mosqueda-Lewis and the Huskies’ full-court pressure broke it open. Five points by Mosqueda-Lewis and back-to-back hoops by Moriah Jefferson pushed the lead to 15. After an Ariel Edwards hoop and a Lucas trey for Penn State (6-2), UConn iced it with six straight points on a basket by Mosqueda-Lewis, two Banks free throws, and Stewart’s first field goal of the night for its biggest lead at 62-41.
Mosqueda-Lewis fouled out with 56.2 seconds to go and left to a standing ovation.
Banks finished with 10 points as was the only other UConn player in double figures. Lucas had 15 points for Penn State.
UConn is off for fall semester final exams until Dec. 19 when it plays host to Oakland, Mich. (7 p.m., SNY) at the XL Center in Hartford.