STORRS -- Most times, it happens just once a season. But for some strange reason, the sight of Stanford-UConn doesn't seem to generate the kind of national excitement it seemingly should.
Then again, sometimes in the midst of a hard-fought game between two elite programs, the fire and joy of what transpires is overshadowed.
Not by disinterest, but by the concern for a young woman injured in its pursuit.
No. 1 UConn beat No. 3 Stanford, 76-57, on Monday at Gampel Pavilion, their first meeting at Geno Auriemma's castle in the cow pasture since 1993, when national championships were just a dream for him.
"We played this game with no illusions," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer.
Two hours after Auriemma shook hands with VanDerveer, two things seemed clear, even though the season has barely shaken its cobwebs.
UConn is really deep and really good. But now for, it may also be without one of its stars, junior forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, because of an unspecified right arm injury.
"I don't know what to think right now," Auriemma said. "Everyone who gets hurt tends to act differently when they do. Some minor things hurt like hell. Some major things don't hurt at all."
With 18:09 to play in the second half, Mosqueda-Lewis, a preseason Associated Press All-American and UConn's single-season career leader in threes, fell hard to the floor under the Huskies' basket.
Her cries were immediate and audible, especially in a building rendered silent. Trainer Rosemary Ragle rushed across the floor to comfort her. He was followed by Auriemma.
"In that moment, it was very scary," Hartley said. "I don't think I ever had experienced anything that to compares to hearing the way [Mosqueda-Lewis] reacted. Stefanie and I were shaking in response to the way she was screaming."
Mosqueda-Lewis, who had scored nine points in 22 minutes, was taken to the locker room, her right arm being supported. Soon after, the school announced that she sustained an unspecified right arm injury and would not return.
By then, the focus has already shifted to compensating for her loss. And that's what Bria Hartley (20 points) and particularly Kiah Stokes (10 points, 12 rebounds) did.
"This was the best game Kiah Stokes has ever played at UConn," Auriemma said about his junior center.
Stokes also has six blocked shots and was 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Hartley also had six assists and eight rebounds. Morgan Tuck had 11 points. And it all melded together, more so when you consider the early foul trouble that idled Breanna Stewart (nine points, 17 minutes).
They had Mosqueda-Lewis' back, on the scoreboard and under the basket. And soon it would be clear that UConn, at least for Monday, would be OK.
"I think anyone watching this game would have seen a team coming together," said Stokes.
Amber Orrange led the Cardinal (1-1) with 22 points. Chiney Ogwumike had 16 points and 13 rebounds.
After struggling for most of the first half to separate from Stanford, the Huskies got a shot of adrenaline from a Mosqueda-Lewis three that beat the buzzer.
That gave UConn its largest lead of a half categorized by some earlier foul trouble for Stewart and Tuck. Both had two in the first eight minutes.
Partially as a result, Ogwumike, with 30 points and 14 rebounds at Boston College Saturday, scored eight points and with 11 rebounds in the first half. This pleased the plethora of WNBA scouts -- Connecticut Sun GM Chris Sienko included -- who came to size up the likely No. 1 pick.
Ogwumike and Orrange, who came close to combining for a quadruple double-double at BC, combined for 20 of Stanford's 26 first-half points.
Perhaps the nervousness of the others was due to the anxiousness of trying to make good after the post-Christmas pounding UConn put on the Cardinal in Palo Alto, Calif. Oh perhaps it was just that UConn figured Ogwumike and Orrange weren't enough to beat them.
The win followed in stride UConn's opening-game win over Hartford on Saturday at the XL Center, the first confirmation of the Huskies' power ranking as they defend their eighth national championship.
Stanford, which has lost six of seven to the Huskies, made just 21 of 60 shots and committed 16 turnovers. UConn was 25 of 63 and just 7 of 28 from three.