Published February 16. 2014 4:00AM
UConn will rely on quality, not quantity, when it begins the final two weeks of its regular season with a road game against South Florida in Tampa today (4 p.m., CBSSN).
The No. 1 Huskies (25-0, 12-0 American Athletic Conference) are down to just seven scholarship players after losing junior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis for 3-6 weeks after being diagnosed with mononucleosis, and one of those seven - junior guard Brianna Banks - has missed the last two games with a sprained left ankle. Banks, however, practiced on Friday and Saturday and is expected to play against the Bulls (13-10, 8-4).
UConn, which has won 31 straight games, is also missing sophomore forward Morgan Tuck, who is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery last month.
"Sometimes unusual things happen," coach Geno Auriemma said of the injuries and illnesses after Friday's practice. "And that's been happening with us. It's one thing after another. It does get a little frustrating, but mostly because of what we can't do in practice. … But in terms of our ability to win games, that hasn't changed. There's no one on our team or our staff that feels like (her illness) will have an impact on winning games."
Exactly. The Huskies might be a bit shorthanded right now, but they do start three All-Americans - seniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley and sophomore Breanna Stewart - and a potential fourth in sophomore guard Moriah Jefferson, who is playing her best basketball since arriving in Storrs last season.
The 6-foot-4 Stewart continues to be a matchup nightmare for opponents, averaging 19.4 points and 8 rebounds per game, while Hartley is averaging 15.7 points and 4.5 assists, the 6-5 Dolson checks in at 12.6 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds and Jefferson is averaging 10.4 points and an AAC best 5.3 assists per game.
Either junior forward Kiah Stokes (5.1 points. 7.2 rebounds) or freshman guard Saniya Chong (5.7 points) is expected to start in place of the ailing Mosqueda-Lewis for the Huskies.
Following today's game, UConn plays its final game at the XL Center on Wednesday against Central Florida before playing three of its final four games on the road.
- Staff and Wire Reports