By Carl Adamec
STORRS, Conn. — Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis got her 1,000th career point in the first half of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team’s game with Seton Hall Saturday. The sophomore wing spent the second half trying to help Kelly Faris reach the same plateau on this, her Senior Day.
“Tonight was about the seniors,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “When they told me at halftime she needed eight points (for 1,000) I said, ‘Let’s get Kelly the ball. Give Kelly the ball.’ I didn’t care what play it was or what we were running, I tried to screen for Kelly to get her open somehow.
“Kelly said, ‘I don’t really like that I shot so much. I don’t like people trying to get me open.’ I said, ‘Kelly, we need you, too.’ I think everyone knows how much I look up to Kelly and how much I appreciate how much she has done for me the past two years.”
Ironically, Faris didn’t need any help in reaching the milestone. She got there with a steal, a full-court dash, and a layup that brought the crowd of 9,107 at Gampel Pavilion to its feet and capped a near-perfect Senior Day for Faris, Caroline Doty, and Heather Buck.
The two newest members of the 1,000-point club scored 18 points each as the third-ranked Huskies routed Seton Hall 90-30 in a Big East game.
“It ended up being a good Senior Day,” Faris said. “Not because of the win or getting 1,000 points, but because of the camaraderie that we had. The underclassmen were all trying to give us a good night.”
UConn honored its seniors prior to their game but it was a second-year player that made the early noise.
Mosqueda-Lewis became the fourth UConn sophomore — joining Svetlana Abrosimova, Maya Moore, and Bria Hartley — to reach the 1,000-point plateau when she made her second straight 3-pointer with 3:57 gone.
“I had no idea,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “I didn’t know I was close until you (media) guys brought it up and then I forgot about it. After I hit the shot and they said it was my 1,000th point I thought, ‘All right, that’s nice.’ But it’s not something I was really thinking about.”
UConn (25-2 overall, 12-1 Big East) led wire to wire in defeating Seton Hall (9-18, 4-10) for a Big East record 29th straight time. The Huskies scored the first seven points and then broke it open with a 14-0 run, including eight points by Breanna Stewart, to take a 30-8 lead. It was 44-15 at halftime.
Seton Hall got no closer. The only suspense of the second half was whether Faris would also reach the 1,000 milestone, which she did with 6:20 remaining.
“I was put in a completely different position,” Faris said. “Usually, I’m not the one that you think, ‘Get her open. Get her open. Get her open.’ The fact that everybody on the team, everybody in the gym, the fans included, wanted me to get a personal goal says a lot about this program, the people they recruit, and the fans. If I had gone anywhere else it would not be like this.
“I’m sure my teammates were fed up that I missed three layups before that. I’m glad it was at home. I’m glad my family was here to see it. And I’m glad my teammates approached it the way they did. It’s hard to find a whole team that’s willing to do something like that to get someone a personal goal. I had every single person doing everything and anything to get me the ball and get me open. You don’t find that often.”
On UConn’s next possession, Faris would register her 500th career assist as her pass led to a basket by Buck. Faris now needs 14 rebounds to join three-time Wade Trophy winner Maya Moore as the only Huskies with 1,000 points, 750 rebounds, 500 assists, and 250 steals in their careers.
It’s also the second time in UConn history the Huskies have had two players score their 1,000th point in the same game. On Nov. 17, 1996, Carla Berube and Nykesha Sales reached the plateau against Western Kentucky in a game played at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion. Faris is the first senior to do it on Senior Day since Ashley Battle in 2005.
“You know the things that happen sometimes, you can’t orchestrate, you can’t predict,” Auriemma said. “If you just keep doing a lot of good things and keep working hard, keep putting yourself in the best position possible, then good things happen to you. For Kelly to score her 1,000th point on Senior Night, that’s kind of been like her career. She’s kind of been at the right place, at the right time, all the time. I’m thrilled for her. I know that she is not a big points person, but I think in the big picture of things it is pretty neat that it would work out like that.”
Stewart finished with 16 points off the bench. Stefanie Dolson had 12 points and nine rebounds. Terry Green had 12 points for the Pirates. Seton Hall coach Anne Donovan received a nice ovation from the crowd during pregame introductions. She will become the coach of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun at season’s end.
UConn plays its final regular season home game Tuesday when it takes on Pittsburgh at the XL Center in Hartford. It will be the last Big East meeting between the schools as the Panthers head to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.