Around the American: Assessing women's basketball teams conference wide

UConn's Natalie Butler rises above Memphis defenders during last Saturday's 91-48 win over the Tigers. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

Since joining the American Athletic Conference in 2013, UConn women’s basketball (29-0, 16-0 the American) has never lost in conference play. They have dominated and won every conference championship, and are currently 70-0 against opponents from the American. However, this does not mean that the league is lacking in competition.

Coming in second behind the Huskies is Temple; coached by former UConn assistant coach Tonya Cardoza. Temple is currently 22-6 and 12-3 in the American. Back in December they beat No. 17 DePaul 84-74 at home.

On Saturday, Feb. 25, Temple beat Cincinnati 88-64 in their senior day game. Junior guard Tanaya Atkinson shined in that game with 30 points and 13 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season. Two days later, Temple beat UCF 66-60. The win guarantees them a No. 2 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

Before the loss to Temple, UCF (19-10, 9-7 the American) was on a six game win streak. UCF will face No. 5 seed Tulane on Saturday, March 4th in the American Conference Championship Quarterfinals.

Tulane (16-13, 7-9 the American) is coming off a three-game losing streak including a close three-point loss to UConn on Feb. 18.  It was the second closest margin of victory in UConn’s 104-game winning streak. Most recently, Tulane suffered a one-point loss to Memphis on Feb. 27.

The SMU Mustangs won Monday night against Houston 74-45. Senior Morgan Bolton scored a career high 20 points in the victory. Bolton shot 6-for-7 from beyond the arc and 7-for-9 from the field. The Mustangs earned the No. 6 seed in the league and will face No. 11 seed East Carolina in the conference tournament.

Third-ranked USF (22-7, 11-5 the American) fell to UConn on Monday night, 96-68. Senior guard/forward Ariadna Pujol led the way for the Bulls with 16 points. USF was able to cut the deficit to seven with two minutes left in the first quarter, but ultimately the Huskies offensive powerhouse proved too strong for the team, largely due to a career-high 39 points from sophomore Napheesa Collier.


The Bulls are ranked as a third seed in the conference and will play the winner of SMU and East Carolina on Saturday, March 4.


Mariana Dominguez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at mariana.dominguez@uconn.edu.