by Mike Potter
CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM The seniors on the Duke women’s basketball team get one more shot at this tonight — at least during a regular season.
The game they may have been dreaming about is here, since they’re undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the nation heading into their battle with No. 1 and defending NCAA champion Connecticut in the Jimmy V Classic.
Connecticut has won six straight in the series and leads it 9-3. Duke’s best showing against UConn under seventh-year coach Joanne P. McCallie was a 61-45 loss here two seasons ago.
It’s the first time a No. 1 has visited a No. 2 since Connecticut’s 88-58 romp over UNC in 2009.
And once again it isn’t really close, as the Huskies are never challenged in the second half in rolling to an 83-61 win.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who had sat out eight games with an elbow injury, enters the game with 14:59 left in the first half and her Huskies up 14-11. Morgan Tuck, who had sat eight games following knee surgery, follows her into the game at 11:58 with Connecticut up 20-11.
Stewart leads the way with 24 points and 11 rebounds while Mosqueda-Lewis adds 21 points on seven 3-pointers. Stefanie Dolson chips in 14 and Bria Hartley 13 for Connecticut.
Chelsea Gray leads Duke with 13 points, followed by Haley Peters with 11 and Tricia Liston and Alexis Jones with 10 each.
Connecticut shoots 49.2 percent to Duke’s 41.5, wins the rebound battle 39-31 and has 14 turnovers to Duke’s 13.
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie: “It was an interesting game from our perspective. But we didn’t do what we need to do defensively, we didn’t rebound the way we needed to rebound and we showed little patience on offense at critical times. That cost us during that run they had in the first half. (Stewart) is the best player in the country and she showed that, and (Mosqueda-Lewis) enjoyed her first game back.”
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma: “I would be less than honest if I said I thought we would come in here and win by 20 or so. I thought Duke being at home and they have a bunch of upperclassmen who have been through this a bunch of times, it would be a little bit different. But I was proud of our guys that every time Duke cut it to (13) somebody made a big play.”
Mosqueda-Lewis: “The only thing I had been doing was shooting, really. I was hoping I’d make a couple tonight. I was just trying to go out there and help my team in any kind of way, whether it was good defense or hitting a couple of shots.”
Peters: “There were lapses in our intensity and our energy throughout the game. We do that in other games but we can get away with it in those games. We haven’t pushed each other enough in that, in not letting that happen no matter who we’re playing. When you do that against this team, you’re going to put yourself in a hole.”
Gray: “When we started executing and reversing the ball and playing off each other is when our runs came. We were getting good looks and open shots. Some didn’t fall. (But) we didn’t have the mental focus to get the job done. We didn’t do what we expect to do, plain and simple.”
What does it all mean?
That the cheese is still standing alone.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Dolson’s layup from Stewart at 16:20 to make it 12-6.
Duke: Lost 1.
UConn: Won 17.
Connecticut leads 10-3.
Duke vs. Albany, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Connecticut vs. California in New York, Sunday, 1:30 p.m.