By Carl Adamec
HARTFORD, Conn. — With Pittsburgh moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, Tuesday night’s contest with the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team may be the last between the schools for a long time.
You’ll hear no complaints from the Panthers’ camp.
Third-ranked UConn was nowhere near its best but it was still way too much for hapless Pittsburgh. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 19 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists as the Huskies defeated the Panthers 76-36 before 9,428 at the XL Center in their final Big East regular season meeting.
UConn (26-2 overall, 13-1 Big East) has won 28 straight over Pittsburgh over the last 20 years and the Panthers (9-18, 0-14) have not beaten UConn in Connecticut since coach Geno Auriemma’s first season of 1985-86.
Pittsburgh has also lost 34 straight Big East regular season games, five short of the league record held by Providence (2003-06). UConn has lost a total of 34 Big East regular season games (379-34) since the start of the 1988-89 campaign.
The Panthers actually led 8-7 before reality set in. Ten straight points, including treys by Moriah Jefferson and Mosqueda-Lewis, put UConn in front. Mosqueda-Lewis then scored six points in a 16-0 run that broke it open. It was 37-13 at halftime and Pittsburgh got no closer than 20 the rest of the way.
Breanna Stewart added 15 points and nine rebounds for UConn while Stefanie Dolson chipped in 14 points for UConn. Kelly Faris had 11 points and nine rebounds and is now five rebounds shy of joining three-time Wade Trophy winner Maya Moore as the only UConn players to have 1,000 points, 750 rebounds, 500 assists, and 250 steals.
Brianna Kiesel had 11 points for Pittsburgh.
The win assured that UConn would be either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the Big East tournament. UConn closes out the regular season at South Florida Saturday (noon, SNY) and at Notre Dame Monday night.