Dec. 6, 2012
STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewisdidn't know until shootaround Thursday that she would be able to play on her injured left leg.
She ended up scoring a season-high 25 points as No. 2 Connecticut pulled away in the second half to beat No. 10 Penn State 67-52.
"I was happy that I was able to come out and perform and help my team out," she said. "I spent the last two days in the training room, and that paid off."
Brianna Banksadded 10 points for the Huskies (8-0), who won their fourth game this season against a ranked opponent and their second this week against a top 10 team. UConn beat No. 9 Maryland 63-48 on Monday.
Maggie Lucas scored 15 points and Ariel Edwards added 10 for Penn State (6-2), which trailed by just six points at halftime and by three early in the second half.
"We were right there," Lucas said. "But we take no moral victory out of this. We just want to get better."
Mosqueda-Lewis started the game despite a left thigh bruise that kept her out of more than half of the win over Maryland. She hit four of her seven shots from 3-point range and added five rebounds.
"We don't expect anything less from her," Banks said. "That's what she does. That's her role on the team. Whenever we need a big bucket, we go to K."
Banks played a big role, too. Penn State had closed to 32-29 on a layup by Talia East with 16 minutes left. But a floater by Banks gave UConn an eight-point lead and she made it 40-31 with another short jumper with 12:25 to go.
Connecticut turned on the defensive pressure, getting three steals in a little more than a minute that turned into three layups, two by freshman Moriah Jefferson, and a 51-36 lead.
It was 53-41 before a 9-0 Huskies run that put the game away.
"These last two games were dogfights," Jefferson said. "In dogfights a lot of times we get a spurt of energy and a burst, where we finally get there and get on that lead."
Penn State had a lead twice in the first half. The first came when Lucas scored five straight points to make it 16-14.
Until that point, UConn had trailed for just 17 seconds this season.
The Huskies were down 18-16 before closing the half on a 12-4 run over the last 9:21 to lead 28-22 at the break.
UConn, which came in averaging just more than 7.5 turnovers a game, had 10 at halftime and only eight field goals.
Mosqueda-Lewis scored seven of the Huskies' first 10 points. The sophomore missed the previous game against Colgate after sustaining a concussion against Purdue on Nov. 24.
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma picked up his first technical foul of the season 33 seconds into the second half after Stefanie Dolsonwas hit with a touch foul while trapping on defense. The teams combined for 38 fouls, 16 on UConn and 22 on Penn State. But Lucas was the only player to foul out, with 54 seconds left and the game already decided.
"I didn't think the referees called the game like there were two top 10 teams playing on the floor," Penn State coach Coquese Washington said. "I think that's unfortunate. I don't think the fans and anybody watching on TV got to see the kind of basketball that both teams are capable of playing."
The Huskies have beaten their ranked opponents by an average of 24 points. UConn is 187-58 against ranked teams and 85-41 against top 10 opponents
Penn State's only other loss came a week ago to Miami when the Lions turned the ball over 29 times. They had 26 turnovers in this one, but forced 20 by UConn.
UConn has won eight straight against Penn State, including a 77-59 victory in last season's NCAA regional semifinals in Rhode Island.
This was the first time that the Lions have been in a battle of top 10 teams since losing to UConn in the 2004 NCAA regional finals.
Connecticut will travel to Penn State next season as part of the home-and-home series.