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Mosqueda-Lewis looking forward to new scenery with Sun

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis believes that change will be good after being traded this offseason from the Seattle Storm to the Connecticut Sun.

Should anyone know a good place to get coffee, she’s all ears.

"The coffee is amazing," Mosqueda-Lewis said about Seattle. "It is really good and there's just so many little coffee shops that aren't Starbucks that are just great. I can't get enough of coffee. I'm an addict. Now I can admit that. I'm going to miss it.

"I might have to be a coffee snob and buy an expresso machine and make my own at home."

The Sun acquired Mosqueda-Lewis from Seattle on Feb. 24 in exchange for their 2021 second-round pick. She was the third overall pick during the 2015 WNBA Draft after a wildly successful career at UConn in which she played for three national championship teams. She graduated as the NCAA's all-time leader in made 3-pointers (398) and currently ranks seventh all-time across all divisions. She was a career 44.7 percent 3-point shooter in college.

Mosqueda-Lewis averaged 12.8 minutes and 5.3 points over five seasons in Seattle and made 34.7 percent of her 3-pointers. She also has a ring after helping the Storm win the 2018 WNBA title.

"I feel like everybody's expectations of me were a little higher than what has actually happened in my career," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "It's good that I had high expectations for myself. If you don't' expect anything from yourself, you'll probably get nothing. But when you look at the grand scheme of things and take into account how many people do play in this league and how many sports there are, I'm proud that I've been able to be part of the league coming up on my sixth season. Even if I haven't played as much as I wanted to do or had as much of a role as I wanted to when I was on Seattle, I still feel like I've learned as a basketball player each year.

"I can really see myself as an intricate person coming off the bench (in Connecticut). I'm excited to have a bigger role ... to have more responsibilities."

The Sun could definitely use another long-range shooter coming off the bench, and the 3-pointer is a big part of head coach Curt Miller's system. Wing Shekinna Stricklen signed with the Atlanta Dream during the offseason. She had been part of the team's core the previous five seasons and was their deep threat. She won the WNBA Three-Point Contest during last year's All-Star weekend.

Connecticut's depth was not a strong as it had been the previous season and, as such, its bench was less productive. The bench ranked eighth out of 12 teams in scoring (21.2 ppg). It also ranked ninth in the percentage of points scored by the bench (26.2 percent).

"I really think we can mesh really well together," Mosqueda-Lewis said about her new team. "Curt has shown that, within his system with all those players that he has, that a shooter like me could really be successful."

Mosqueda-Lewis enjoyed a change this offseason, playing in Spain after spending the previous four offseasons in France. She played for Campus Promete Logrono in Logroño, which is located in northern Spain.

"It was nice to just be in a different place," she said. "The big adjustment was getting used to being up so late just because they don’t open things up for dinner until 8. We'd have practice starting at 11 in the morning, and then you'd have your break for your little siesta (nap). Then we'd go back to practice again at 7:45 (p.m.). And then you'd go home and eat dinner at 10."

Mosqueda-Lewis is a morning person, by the way.

"At the beginning, I was like, 'gosh, I'm so tired,'" Mosqueda-Lewis said. "'This is so late. How am supposed to do this all year?' I got used to it. I really liked it. Hopefully I can get a chance to play there again."

Mosqueda-Lewis felt she needed a break after the WNBA season and didn’t go to Spain until late December. She lived in both Seattle and Los Angeles and was roommates with Breanna Stewart, her Seattle and former UConn teammate. Stewart had been looking for a training partner for workouts.

“It was good,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “We've always meshed and gotten along. She was one of best friends and it was nice to hang out together and be normal roommates for a little while.”

Mosqueda-Lewis is currently in California after the Spanish league canceled its season in March due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. She’s back living at home with her parents, Sundy and Khari, and younger brother Xavier. She’s been working out and doing what she can to pass the time with the WNBA season currently suspended, including giving paint-by-numbers a try.

“It was a picture of two elephants, and I’m quite proud of myself,” Mosqueda-Lewis said with a laugh. “An ad popped up on my Instagram about (paint-by-numbers), so I was like, ‘let me look this up on Amazon.' So I looked up a bunch of them, and you know everything is on backorder with Amazon, so I picked the one that would come the fastest.

“I actually liked it. I’ll probably end up doing another one. ... I like painting, I like coloring, I love coloring books. So, yeah, it was really calming for me.”

n.griffen@theday.com

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