Mosqueda-Lewis out 3-6 weeks with Mono.
STORRS: University of Connecticut women's basketball head coach Geno Auriemma has been saying for the last few weeks that his team was living on the edge when it came to depth.
With only eight scholarship players available, the Huskies were a bit thin and as of Friday afternoon, they got a little thinner.
Junior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis will miss the next three to six weeks after she was diagnosed with mononucleosis.
Now, don’t expect UConn opponents to start up a collection to get the Huskies another All-American or anything but the loss of KML does put more strain on the seven healthy scholarship players.
When Mosqueda-Lewis was hurt at the start of the season against Stanford and suffered a serious nerve contusion, the team responded with great play from the likes of Kiah Stokes, Saniya Chong, Brianna Banks and Morgan Tuck.
Well, Tuck underwent season-ending knee surgery right after KML went down and since that time, Banks has been hobbled with an ankle injury while Chong has had her ups and downs as she works her way through her freshman season.
Now, the Huskies still throw Stefanie Dolson, Breanna Stewart, Bria Hartley and Moriah Jefferson at each team they face.
Most opponents would love to have one or two of those stars on their team, UConn still gets to show the best talent top to bottom of any starting five in the country.
What it does do though, is cut down the margin of error for Auriemma and company. Early foul trouble, another sprained ankle and the two walk-ons, Briana Pulido and Tierney Lawlor could become part of the mix.
Now before anybody thinks the UConn women are toast, let’s not get crazy.
There is no Notre Dame or even Stanford on the schedule before the regular season ends.
The Huskies sit at 25-0 with only their last game of the year, a road game at Louisville looking like a potential tough one.
Here’s who they play over the next six games with the margin of victory next to each opponent.
At USF (28), home against UCF (28). At Houston (50), at SMU (61) and home against Rutgers (30).
The Cardinals gave the Huskies a run for their money in their first meeting, a 17-point UConn win, while only Baylor (11) has played the women from Storrs closer.
They still have the best player in the country in Stewart and a surrounding cast who the ability to take over games at will and have at times this season.
Perhaps this heightens the drama for the Huskies and maybe it’s a good thing. Players love to play and the head coach has said all of them want to play as many minutes as possible.
A nice problem to have.
Losing KML and her ability to take over a game from beyond the three-point line is nothing to sneeze at but this team owns so many weapons, an opponent needs to pick their poison with no guarantee of an antidote.
On the early side, three weeks would see Mosquada-Lewis return by March 7, the long March 28.
The American Athletic Conference Tournament gets underway on March 7, the NCAA Tournament starts on March 22.
One thing is for certain, the margin for error is shrinking as the UConn women look to run the regular season table and bring home the ultimate prize, the National Championship.