UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- No player in the 2015 WNBA Draft had a resume like Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.
Want a winner? Mosqueda-Lewis was a three-time national champion with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team and the Huskies won 146 games while she was in Storrs. UConn also won three league tournament titles and a pair of conference regular season crowns.
Want talent? Mosqueda-Lewis was a two-time WBCA All-American, which earned her induction into the Huskies of Honor. She scored 2,177 points, good for a tie for fourth in UConn history, as well as accumulating over 750 rebounds and 300 assists. She is also the top 3-point shot maker in NCAA history.
Want clutch? Mosqueda-Lewis is one of only 11 UConn players to be named to a postseason all-tournament team in all four of her years. She was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 Big East tournament and 2015 American Athletic Conference tournament, and the 2014 NCAA Lincoln (Nebraska) Regional. She was a two-time (2013-14) all-Final Four selection. In the 2015 championship game win over Notre Dame, she hit the dagger 3-pointer and scored UConn's last seven points in the 63-53 win.
Yet there were doubters about her future in the WNBA before and after she was selected third overall by the Seattle Storm in the 2015 draft in April. Midway through her rookie year, those doubts remain.
Mosqueda-Lewis didn’t get off the bench Friday as the Storm fell to the Connecticut Sun 67-66 at Mohegan Sun Arena. It was the seventh time in 20 games "did not play-coach’s decision" appeared next to her name in the box score.
"I’m trying to not to think of it like, ‘In the past I played this much and now I’m playing this much.’ " Mosqueda-Lewis said before the game. "I’m a rookie. I’m still learning. I still have a lot of things that I have to go through in order to make it in this league. I’m trying to learn as much as I can watching and see what my teammates are doing, what our opponents are doing.
"The biggest eye-opening thing has been is that it’s going to be a process. It’s not something that’s going to come quickly, It’s something I’m going to have to work harder at and go with day by day. I knew it was going to be hard."
In her 13 appearances for the Storm, Mosqueda-Lewis has totaled 99 minutes of action. The 7.6 minutes per outing is 11th and last on the team.
The Anaheim Hills, California, native is averaging 2.9 points and her 3-point shooting percentage is an unheard of (for her, anyway) 28.6 percent -- 6 for 21.
Through it all, she says the last two months have been positive.
"I have a great group of girls surrounding me," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "We have a great coaching staff. It’s been a real good experience so far and I’m learning a lot."
Four years ago, she went right from Mater Dei High, where she was the national Player of the Year, to a key performer at the college level for the Huskies.
This adjustment to the professional level has not been so easy or so smooth.
There are no SMUs, UCFs, or Houstons in the WNBA.
"Just the level of competition every single night is at the highest level possible," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "You have to make sure you’re ready every single day, whether you play 10 minutes or whether you play 20. You have to be ready and make sure you make an impact as soon as you get out there. You’ve got to raise your level of intensity, you’ve got to raise your level of competition every time."
She has a notebook with her that she writes down things she learns from her teammates or from watching Seattle’s opponents.
Being a student didn’t end when she got her degree from UConn in May.
"I got lucky to be able to play with girls (in college) that have done great and are in the WNBA and girls that will do great once they get to the WNBA," Mosqueda-Lewis said.
"Being a rookie, you have to learn as many tricks as you can from the people that have been here for awhile. I’ve been watching and taking notes trying to soak everything in."
Mosqueda-Lewis -- who said she will play overseas during the WNBA offseason but does not yet have a destination -- is enjoying being back on the west coast, though the losing is something new to her. The Storm are 5-15 with Friday’s tough loss. Mosqueda-Lewis’ teams at Mater Dei and UConn combined to go 269-17.
Of course, the good news about the bad record that currently has Seattle outside the Western Conference playoffs is it would then be in the lottery to earn the right to select UConn’s Breanna Stewart with the top pick in the 2016 draft.
Another good part of being in Seattle is being mentored by former UConn star Sue Bird, a two-time WNBA champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist.
"It was tough for her early on to adjust," Bird said during All-Stat weekend here. "An experience I can kind of fall back on is my first Olympics when I hardly played at all. That can be hard on anybody. When you go from playing 30 minutes per game and being the focal point of your team to the complete opposite, it is hard. It is definitely a dose of reality that is not always easy to swallow.
"But I have to say, she is really -- after kind of getting through that first month or so and getting over that hurdle -- she has really been pretty impressive. She comes to work every day like a professional, plays hard in practice, challenges the rest of us. As a teammate on the bench, during games she is into the game and is very talkative and active."
But Mosqueda-Lewis would rather be playing.
Bird’s advice is something that keeps her going through the tough times.
"Sue knows what kind of program that I’m coming from and the expectations that I’m coming from," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "She tells me to be patient and things will come in time. As long as I keep working and keep learning, things will fall into place."