Nov. 8, 2013
STORRS, Conn. – The University of Connecticut women’s basketball program commences its regular season schedule on Saturday at the XL Center in Hartford. The squad will face the University of Hartford Hawks for a 4pm contest on Nov. 9. Entering the showdown, the Huskies have defeated the Hawks in all of the previous 13 meetings between the two schools.
Fresh off of two exhibition wins, the Huskies boast an impressive starting lineup full of familiar faces from last year’s squad. Breanna Stewart (Syracuse, N.Y.), last year’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player recipient, recorded a double-double in each of the two exhibition contests against Gannon and Philadelphia. Stewart’s name surfaced on the radars of several preseason honors, including the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award watch lists, along with teammates Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Bria Hartley, and Stefanie Dolson. The sophomore forward received recognition from the American Athletic Conference as the Preseason Player of the Year and a First Team honoree in anticipation of its inaugural basketball season. Most recently, the Associated Press named Stewart and teammate Kaleena Mosqueda –Lewis (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) Preseason All-Americans on Nov. 5.
The Huskies return another key piece of the offense in junior Kaleen Mosqueda-Lewis. The Huskies’ reigning scoring leader with 670 points last season, Mosqueda-Lewis also led all of Division I in three-point shooting percentage in 2012-13, sinking 118-of-240 for a 49.2 percentage. The sharpshooting junior added another dimension to her game as a serious passing threat, dishing out eight assists in UConn’s final exhibition tune-up against Philadelphia University.
UConn will also derive leadership from veterans Bria Hartley (North Babylon, N.Y.) and Stefanie Dolson (Port Jervis, N.Y.), the two-member senior class on a talented young team. In three seasons the duo has accrued a 104-11 overall record in a Husky uniform, averaging over 34 wins per year in addition to each earning All-American laurels in their careers. In advance of the season, Dolson and Hartley have also earned American Preseason All-Conference First Team and Honorable Mention nods, respectively.
The start of the regular season marks both a return of familiar faces and the debut of a newcomer. UConn welcomes back junior forward Brianna Banks (Newnan, Ga.) after she suffered a season-ending knee injury in February of last season. Banks combined for 12 points and nine rebounds in the Huskies’ pair of exhibition matchups, looking strong in 43 minutes of combined playing time. Making her first official appearance as a Husky will be freshman Saniya Chong (Ossining, N.Y.). The 2013 New York State Gatorade Player of the Year has become steadily acclimated to the college level, developing confidence and chipping in 13 points in the latter game of the exhibition season.
The Huskies will not have to travel far for their first regular season matchup, hosting the University of Hartford in an intrastate meeting at the XL Center on Nov. 9 at 4pm. Saturday’s opener will mark the 29th season at the helm for both Head Coach Geno Auriemma, who signed a five-year contract extension this summer, and Associate Head Coach Chris Dailey.