STORRS, Conn. -- Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis heard the news over the weekend that Katie Lou Samuelson had broken another one of her Mater Dei High school records.
Samuelson scored 42 points Friday night as Mater Dei defeated Palisades 99-73 in the CIF Open Division So Cal Regionals. The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's senior wing and 2011 Mater Dei graduate had shared the record of 41 points with Samuelson -- who signed with UConn last November -- and current UCLA junior Nirra Fields.
"I'm a little upset," Mosqueda-Lewis said quietly, before letting out a big laugh and a smile.
"I'm glad it went to her, someone that's coming here to UConn and someone that's worthy of it. Katie Lou's done really well the three years that she's been there."
Last December, Samuelson, a 6-foot-3 guard, broke the Mater Dei single-game record for 3-pointers that was shared by Mosqueda-Lewis and Samuelson's sister, Karlie. She made 10 en route to a 41-point effort in a win over Texas Skyline at the Nike Tournament of Champions.
Last week, she became the second player from Mater Dei to win the Naismith Trophy as the nation's top performer. The first was Mosqueda-Lewis in 2011.
"That's awesome and it's a huge honor to win that award," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "It's special to be recognized out of all the players in the country and I'm really happy for her."
What Mosqueda-Lewis really wants for Samuelson now is to go out as a state champion the way she did four years ago.
Mater Dei (30-2) advanced to the CIF So Cal regional final Tuesday night as Samuelson had 30 points in a 60-44 win over Long Beach Poly, which eliminated the Monarchs from the playoffs in that round last season en route to the state title. The regional final is Saturday with the state championship game scheduled for March 28.
"She should do her best to help her teammates as much as she can," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "She's going to need them to win those big games. Whatever she can do to help them play to the best of their abilities will help her win a state championship."
Georgia's Landers retiresWhen Geno Auriemma heard the news Monday that veteran Georgia coach Andy Landers was retiring after 36 seasons, the UConn coach got on the phone.
"I talked to him for a little bit this afternoon," Auriemma said Monday night. "When you’ve been doing it for as long as he’s been doing it, and he had a run there that was as good as any run anyone has ever had ... Unfortunately, they didn’t come away with a national championship. But there was a 20-year period there if you asked, ‘Who are the top five teams in all of college basketball?’ that Georgia’s name would come up pretty quickly."
Landers, the only full-time women's coach Georgia has had, made his announcement Monday. The Bulldogs finished 17-13 and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994.
He won 852 games at Georgia (944 overall) and is tied for most NCAA tournament appearances with 31. He led the Bulldogs to five Final Fours along with 11 SEC regular season and four SEC tournament titles. He is a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and coached two Naismith Memorial Hall of Famers.
"He’s done a lot for the game," Auriemma said. "He’s worked with USA Basketball, he’s served on committees, he’s done an awful lot for the women’s game. I’m going to miss him personally. We’ve become pretty good friends. But there comes a time where everybody makes that decision. I asked him, ‘Is it true? What the hell are you going to do?’ He said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ Who knows? Two weeks from now I might be joining him."
Tulane makes threeTulane had to wait for the final region (Spokane, Washington) to be announced, but the Green Wave are in the NCAA tournament. Tulane (22-10) is the No. 12-seed and No. 5 Mississippi State (26-6) in Durham, North Carolina, on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
"I was worried they may not get in," Auriemma said. "But the teams that deserved to get in from our league got in and I'm hopeful that down the road it grows to more than three. There's the possibility. I'll be contacting them. I already contacted Jose (South Florida coach Fernandez). Whatever we can do to help, that's what we'll do."
The American Athletic Conference got three -- UConn, USF, and Tulane -- into the Field of 64 this season after getting only UConn and Louisville in a year ago. The Green Wave played well in the AAC tournament and against USF in the semifinals. It was a solid first year after the program's move from Conference USA.
"The classes coming up have some good players and I think they're recruiting the right people," Tulane guard Danielle Blagg said. "They need to look at the opportunity to play at Tulane as a huge one. You get to play against the No. 1 team in the nation and other good opponents. It's a way to put Tulane on the board."
Blagg, a senior, was an all-AAC third-team pick and is averaging 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds heading into her first NCAA tournament appearance.
She comes from an athletic family. Her grandfather is former major league pitcher Jack Sanford, who was the 1957 National League Rookie of the Year with the Philadelphia Phillies with a 19-8 record while leading the majors in strikeouts. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants in 1959 and in 1962 finished 24-7, which included a 16-game winning streak. He would finish second in the Cy Young voting (there was only one winner at the time) to the Dodgers' Don Drysdale.
Sanford would pitch in the World Series against the New York Yankees. He won Game 2 at Candlestick Park 2-0 with a three-hit shutout, but lost Game 5 at Yankee Stadium 5-3 when Tom Tresh hit a tie-breaking three-run homer in the eighth. Four days of rain allowed him to come back for Game 7 and he allowed one run and seven hits in seven-plus innings of work. But the Yankees' Ralph Terry pitched a four-hitter and second baseman Bobby Richardson caught Willie McCovey's line drive with runners at second and third and two outs in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the 1-0 win.
Sanford had a 1.93 ERA in the Series and also had three hits, as many as Mickey Mantle. He would retire in 1967 with a 137-101 record. He died in March 2000, when Blagg was seven.
"I don't really remember him, and that's sad," Blagg said. "But I've read plenty about him. He lived in West Virginia and he was a big golfer. My mom tells me stories about how tough he was on her. She was a track athlete at Purdue and he always pushed her to keep going. I think that I have that mindset as well so maybe that's his influence on me."
The AAC also sent three teams -- Tulsa, Temple, and East Carolina -- to the WNIT.