From UConn and the Atlanta Tipoff Club:
ATLANTA – After helping the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team to six wins in its first seven games a trio of Huskies, Breanna Stewart (Syracuse, N.Y.), Moriah Jefferson (Glenn Heights, Texas) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) have been named to the Naismith Trophy Women’s 50 Watch List, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Wednesday morning.
In the history of the Naismith Trophy, six Huskies have earned the award in eight different seasons. Rebecca Lobo first took home the honors for Connecticut in the 1995 season after winning the program’s first National Championship. In 2002, the Naismith Award was bestowed on Sue Bird after UConn’s first of three consecutive National Titles. Diana Taurasi followed on Bird’s heels as a back-to-back recipient in 2003 and 2004. Tina Charles earned the honors in 2010, in between Maya Moore’s two seasons as the Naismith Award winner in 2009 and 2011. Last season, Stewart was selected as the winner of the prestigious award, becoming just the seventh player to win the Naismith Trophy in both high school and college.
Earlier this season, the trio was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top-30 list.
Stewart has put together a solid junior campaign, averaging 16.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. The Syracuse, N.Y. native was tabbed as the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 24 after shooting an incredible 10-for-10 from the field in UConn’s win over Creighton. She is shooting 51.2 (43-of-84) percent from the floor this season and is one of three Huskies with double-digit made three-pointers.
In 2013-14, she recorded double-digit points in 38 of UConn’s 40 games on her way to being selected as the 2013-14 National Player of the Year by the Associated Press, the Atlanta Tip-Off Club (Naismith Trophy), the United States Basketball Writers Association and the Honda Sports Award.
Jefferson earns a spot on the list after earning the starting nod in each of UConn’s seven contests, averaging 9.6 points and a team-best 4.7 assists per game. She set a career-high with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting against Green Bay on Nov. 30 and has reached double-digit points in four games.
Last season, Jefferson enjoyed a breakout sophomore season, starting all 40 games and averaging 10.0 points per contest. The Texas native led The American in assists per game (4.9) and shooting percentage (57.5) en route to an all-conference First Team selection. She dished out 25 assists compared to only seven turnovers during the Huskies’ six-game run through the NCAA Tournament. Her 195 total assists marked the fifth-highest single-season total for a Husky player.
Mosqueda-Lewis rounds out the Husky portion of the list, earning a nod after leading the team with 17.0 points per game and 26 made-three point field goals. The senior deep-threat set a career-high with 10 made three-pointers en route to her second career 30-point game in the Huskies’ season-opening win over UC Davis on Nov. 14.
Despite being limited by injury in the 2013-14 campaign, the forward earned 26 starts and notched 19 double-figure scoring games. She posted the program’s third-ever triple-double in the Huskies’ NCAA Second Round victory over Saint Joseph’s on March 25. The three-point sharpshooter saved her best for the postseason, earning a spot on the American Athletic Conference All-Tournament Team after posting 14.7 points and shooting 47.4 from beyond the arc. In addition, Mosqueda-Lewis was tabbed as the Lincoln Regional Most Outstanding Player after averaging 17.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game while shooting 51.0 percent in the Huskies first four NCAA Tournament victories.
photo credit: ©2014 Ian Bethune