Women's Basketball: Huskies tip off American conference tournament

UConn women's basketball forward Morgan Tuck takes a shot during the Huskies' game against South Florida in Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

After an undefeated regular season, the No. 1 UConn women’s basketball team will play their first game in the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Saturday.

The top seed Huskies will await the winner between No. 9 Cincinnati and No. 8 East Carolina who play on Friday.

UConn dominated the regular season in the American on their way to their third straight regular season title. The Huskies will look to also win their third conference tournament championship in the three years of the conference’s existence.

Before any of the postseason games started, the American announced their end of the season awards on Thursday, recognizing six Huskies. Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck were all named First Team All-Conference. Jefferson was also named American Defensive Player of the Year and Tuck received the Sportsmanship Award.

Kia Nurse was named Third Team All-Conference.

Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson were named to the All-Freshman Team.

The Huskies could still be in line for a few more awards as the conference has yet to announce winners for Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The Huskies have had success against both of their possible first round opponents this year. UConn defeated Cincinnati on the road 107-45 on Dec. 30. They won the matchup in Storrs 88-34 on Feb. 17.

They also have two 40-point victories over East Carolina.

The Huskies will look to seniors Stewart and Jefferson to lead the way now that they have reached the postseason. Both players had phenomenal seasons as they led UConn to the number one offense in the nation.

Stewart averaged 19.6 points per game in the regular season while grabbing 8.6 rebounds per game. Jefferson added 13.1 points per game while also averaging 5.4 assists per game.

It is always interesting to see how UConn freshmen play once tournament time comes. Samuelson ended the regular season playing her best basketball, averaging 10.3 points per game by scoring at least 19 points in three of her last four games. She reached her career high of 21 points twice during that span.

While a matchup in the championship with USF on Monday seems inevitable, the Huskies will have to win on Saturday and Sunday to get there first.

The Huskies will start their postseason on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena.


Spencer Mayfield is a staff writer for The Daily Campus covering women's basketball. He can be reached via email at spencer.mayfield@uconn.edu. He tweets@SpenceMayfield.