Thursday, December 06, 2012 11:01 pm
No. 10 Penn State women lose to No. 2 UConn 67-52
By PAT EATON-ROBBAssociated Press
They don't want to hear that No. 2 Connecticut had trailed for only 17 seconds this season before the 10th-ranked Lions took two first-half leads. They are not interested in the fact that they were within three points of the Huskies with 16 minutes to go before losing 67-52 Thursday night.
"We're really disappointed," said Maggie Lucas, who led Penn State with 15 points. "Just staying close to them isn't good enough. We've got to get better. We want to be on this level."
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored a season-high 25 points for Connecticut, which pulled away in the second half. Brianna Banks added 10 points for the Huskies (8-0).
It was UConn's fourth win this season against a ranked opponent and its second this week against a top 10 team. UConn beat No. 9 Maryland 63-48 on Monday.
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.
Ariel Edwards had 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for Penn State (6-2).
The Lions 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 put the game away.
"I thought we got a little bit of fatigue during that stretch," Penn State coach Coquese Washington said. "So we didn't play as smart. We didn't make as many wise decisions as we should have during that stretch."
Penn State had a lead twice in the first half. The first came when Lucas scored five straight points to make it 16-14. 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.
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma picked up his first technical foul of the season 33 seconds into the second half after Stefanie Dolson was 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," 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.
"We were right there," Lucas said. "But we take no moral victory out of this. We just want to get better."