STORRS – A season of acute personal misfortune has taken another sad twist for UConn junior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.
Mosqueda-Lewis, an All-American as a sophomore, will miss at least three weeks, perhaps as many as six weeks, because of mononucleosis.
The illness was detected after she injured left elbow late in the first half of UConn’s win overLouisville on Sunday. It was originally thought she might be sidelined because of that after missing eight games earlier this season with a compressed nerve in her right elbow.
While her latest elbow injury didn’t prove serious – she played seven minutes in the second half against the Cardinals – her illness now more than surpasses anyone’s original fears about how it might impact her playing time.
The Huskies have only two weeks remaining in the regular season, beginning Sunday at South Florida. So at the very least, she will likely also miss the American Athletic Conferencetournament at Mohegan Sun from March 7-10.
Mosqueda-Lewis, who was averaging 12.2 points in 17 games, had also scored in double-figures in her last four games, five of six, including a 21-point game against Memphis on Jan, 22.
Her absence will leave UConn with just seven scholarship players for the remainder of the regular season. However, junior guard Brianna Banks is also a question mark after re-injuring her right ankle in practice prior to UConn’s win over SMU on Feb. 4.
Banks has not played in the last two games – three of the last five – and has practiced only minimally this week. If she can not play, the Huskies will have only six core players for Sunday’s game at South Florida.
Sophomore forward Morgan Tuck was already lost for the season following UConn’s game against Houston on Jan. 7 with reconstructive knee surgery.
Without Mosqueda-Lewis, UConn all-time single-season three-point shooter [118 last season] the Huskies again need to rely on the rest of the team for minutes and points.
With or without Banks, the only players remaining on their bench for the forseeable future are junior Kiah Stokes and walk-ons Briana Pulido and Tierney Lawlor.
As it Stefanie Dolson (31.6) and Bria Hartley (30.2) are averaging over 30 minutes with Moriah Jefferson (29.3) and Breanna Stewart (29.0) not far behind. Ironically, Mosqueda-Lewis was the only player on last year’s national champion (30.2) to average over 30 minutes a game.