For the second time this season, the No. 2/2 UConn Huskies women's basketball experienced something very rare. They fell behind in a game plus they received their second straight challenge from an opponent.
That's what happens though when you play a nationally-ranked team in the No. 10/10 Penn State Lady Lions.
Penn State closed but the Huskies used a 20-5 run in the second to pull out a hard fought 67-52 win in front of 8,072 at Gampel Pavilion on Thursday night.
UConn improves to 8-0 while the Lady Lions fall to 6-2.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who cleared for the game after suffering a thigh contusion in the Maryland win, returned with a vengeance. She led the Huskies with 25 points and had five rebounds and four steals before fouling out late in the game.
Brianna Banks improved play continued on Thursday as she was the only other member of the Huskies in double figures with 10 points. Breanna Stewart led UConn with seven rebounds to go along with her seven points. Kelly Faris and Bria Hartley led them with four assists each while Faris led the team with five steals.
Caroline Doty's high school teammate Maggie Lucas led the Lady Lions with 15 points. Ariel Edwards added 10 points while Mia Mickson had eight points and a game-high eight rebounds.
This was yet another physical game as the referees whistled 38 fouls in the game. This is also the second straight game where the opponent roughed up the Huskies and I expect that trend to continue.
But I like the scheduling done by Geno Auriemma this season. He's played two top 10 opponents this week and this was the fourth ranked opponent the Huskies have beaten this season (Texas A&M, Purdue, Maryland, Penn State). And with a matchup with No. 1 Stanford looming in the coming weeks, games like these will help prepare the Huskies.
UConn is now off for final exams and they return to the court on December 19th when they'll host the Oakland (MI) Golden Grizzlies at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Here are the postgame quotes from UConn head coach Geno Auriemma.
Here are UConn's postgame notes.
photo credit: ap photo (no. 4 in gallery)