It wasn't pretty, but Huskies win top-10 matchup

Buy Photo Sean D. Elliot/ The Day UConn's Kelly Faris, right, attempts to draw a foul from Penn State's Nikki Greene during Thursday night's top 10 matchup in Storrs. No. 2 UConn topped No. 10 Penn State behind a season-high 25 points from Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

Storrs - There was a women's basketball game played Thursday night at Gampel Pavilion. No, really. Somewhere underneath the rubble of endless whistles, a combined 46 turnovers and Geno Auriemma kicking the scorer's table, the second-ranked UConn women emerged with a 67-52 victory over No. 10 Penn State.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who injured her quad Monday night against Maryland, led the Huskies (8-0) with 25 points, triggering a decisive second-half run. Otherwise, both teams played a glorified game of musical chairs, starting and stopping with every tweet of the whistle.

Thirty-one of the game's combined 38 fouls were called in the first 28 minutes.

"We just needed about three minutes without a (gosh darn) whistle," Auriemma said, after earning a second-half technical foul that came after he kicked the table and howled at the officials. "That would have really helped. When the game is played the way it was tonight, it's impossible to get any kind of rhythm going. You're just trying to survive and hope that you can make a play. Running any offense just wasn't going to happen."

Penn State's Maggie Lucas (15 points) and Mosqueda-Lewis fouled out.

"It was a frustrating game to play, a frustrating game to coach and a frustrating game to watch," Penn State coach Coquese Washington said. "Geno got a tech. I was in the refs' ear and got a couple of warnings.

"I didn't think the refs called the game like there were two top-10 teams on the floor. I think that's unfortunate," she said. "I don't think fans or anybody watching on TV got to see the kind of basketball both teams are capable of playing because of the way the game was called and because of the physical play."

UConn led 28-22 at halftime and finally pulled away during a flurry midway through the second half. Mosqueda-Lewis hit a bank shot before Moriah Jefferson stole the inbounds pass and made a layup to make it 49-36 with 10:09 left. Jefferson's steal and score a minute later made it 51-36 and the Lions (6-2) never threatened.

Lucas' 15 points came on 5-for-12 shooting while teammate Alex Bentley was 1-for-11. Penn State shot 34 percent from the field.

Brianna Banks scored 10 points for the Huskies, while Breanna Stewart, who only took three shots, had seven points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

Auriemma, whose team takes a lengthy break for exams, chuckled when asked if he considered being ejected to prove a point. Associate head coach Chris Dailey had to get between Auriemma and the officials at one point in the second half.

"I know two of those guys (Jesse Dickerson and Bryan Enterline) did the game last night," Auriemma said, alluding to the Baylor-Notre Dame game in Indiana. "Maybe they were suffering jet lag. I don't know. I just think we have some real issues in women's basketball and unless they get addressed, you'll see more of these games. And that's not fair."

m.dimauro@theday.com

UConn's Kiah Stokes, back, and Stefanie Dolson, front, double-team Penn State's Mia Nickson during Thursday's top-10 women's basketball matchup at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. No. 2 UConn won the game 67-52 over the 10th-ranked Lady Lions to remain unbeaten at 8-0.
Buy Photo Sean D. Elliot/The Day UConn's Kiah Stokes, back, and Stefanie Dolson, front, double-team Penn State's Mia Nickson during Thursday's top-10 women's basketball matchup at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. No. 2 UConn won the game 67-52 over the 10th-ranked Lady Lions to remain unbeaten at 8-0.
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