The University of Connecticut’s run of four consecutive national championships in women’s basketball includes three American Family Insurance ALL-USA Players of the Year.
While that would not be a surprise — you don’t win national championships without star recruits — consider that two of the players are from the same high school and were never teammates at UConn.
Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) is the alma mater of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, a 6 foot guard who was named ALL-USA Player of the Year in 2010-11. She was a member of UConn titles in 2013, ’14 and ’15 and was the third overall pick by the Seattle Storm in the WNBA draft last spring.
Mater Dei is also the alma mater of Katie Lou Samuelson, a 6-3 forward who was named ALL-USA Player of the Year in 2014-15. Samuelson is a UConn freshman who amazingly played 17 minutes in the first half of the national semifinal Sunday on a broken foot. She was injured on the first play and just kept going, never saying anything to the training staff. She was a spectator on the bench when UConn trounced Syracuse for the title Monday. She had a career-high 21 points against Robert Morris and then 21 against Mississippi State earlier in the NCAA Tournament.
Here is what Mosqueda-Lewis said about heading to UConn during her Player of the Year interview in 2011: “It is a little intimidating at first when you see (Geno Auriemma’s) practices, but I know I’ll be working hard prior to getting there, and I’ve been working hard for the past couple of years. I’ll get myself as ready as I can.”
And in case you are wondering, the third ALL-USA Player of the Year who has been part of UConn’s recent run is probably obvious: Breanna Stewart, the 2011-212 winner from Cicero-North Syracuse (N.Y.).