Women's Basketball: Evaluating the American Championship field

Katie Lou Samuelson and Saniya Chong celebrate during the Huskies 91-48 victory over Memphis on Feb. 27, 2017. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

With the American Athletic Conference set to kick off Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena, here’s a quick glance at each of the team’s trying to become this year’s American Athletic Conference Tournament champion. Teams are ordered by seeding.

No. 1 UConn

Record: 29-0, 16-0 The American

First tournament game: Saturday, March 4 at 2 p.m. against No. 8 Memphis/No. 9 Tulsa winner

Leading scorer: Katie Lou Samuelson (20.7 points per game)

UConn has never lost in American Athletic Conference play (70-0) and rides an 104-game winning streak into Mohegan as it attempts to go for its fourth-straight American conference tournament title.

No. 2 Temple

Record: 22-6, 12-3 The American

First tournament game: Saturday, March 4 at 6 p.m.against No. 7 Cincinnati/No. 10 Houston winner

Leading scorer: Feyonda Fitzgerald (16.9 ppg)

Fitzgerald and guard Alliya Butts form one of the most dangerous backcourts in the conference, combining to average over 30 points per game. Tanya Atkinson is another dangerous player for the Owls, averaging 13 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

No. 3 USF

Record: 22-7, 11-5 The American

First tournament game: Saturday, March 4 at 8 p.m. against No. 6 SMU/No. 11 East Carolina winner

Leading scorer: Kitija Laksa (19.6 ppg)

Laksa and the Bulls look to return the American title game for the third-straight season after winning 11 games in conference play. Laksa is one game removed from a 34-point performance on the road against Tulsa.

No. 4 UCF

Record: 19-10, 9-7 The American

First tournament game: Saturday, March 4 at 12 pm against No. 5 Tulane

Leading scorer: Aliyah Gregory (16.7 points per game)

The Knights go into the American conference tournament having won six of their last seven games, including vital wins against Tulane and USF. UCF finished 9-4 away from home this year and could put in a decent showing this weekend playing at Mohegan Sun.

No. 5 Tulane

Record: 16-13, 7-9 The American

First tournament game: Saturday, March 4 at 12 p.m. against No. 4 UCF

Leading scorer: Kolby Morgan (18.8 points per game)

The Green Wave gave the UConn one of the biggest scares of the season on Feb. 18 when they lost by a mere three points. In that game, Morgan scored 19 and was aided by a huge performance from Leslie Vorpahl, who shot 4-7 from beyond the arc in a 16-point effort. Tulane will definitely be a contender in the conference tourney.

No. 6 SMU

Record: 16-13, 7-9 The American

First tournament game: Friday, March 3 at 8 p.m.against No. 11 East Carolina

Leading scorer: Alicia Froling (14.2 points per game)

Froling leads the Mustangs in points, rebounds and blocks, and averages a double-double with 10.5 rebounds per game. SMU shoots just 26 percent from 3-point range.

No. 7 Cincinnati

Record: 16-13, 7-9 The American

First tournament game: Friday, March 3 at 6 p.m. against No. 10 Houston

Leading scorer: Shanice Johnson (15.2 points per game)

The Bearcats enter the tournament having lost eight of their last 10 games. They have three players averaging double digits in scoring.

No. 8 Memphis

Record: 14-15, 7-9 The American

First tournament game: Friday, March 3 at 4 p.m. against No. 9 Tulsa

Leading scorer: Cheyenne Creighton (14.7 ppg)

Creighton is the Tigers’ leading rebounder with 7.5 boards per game. Memphis went 11-5 at home this season but just 3-9 on the road.

No. 9 Tulsa

Record: 9-20, 5-11 The American

First tournament game: Friday, March 3 at 4 p.m. against No. 8 Memphis

Leading scorer: Erika Wakefield (11.9 ppg)

Tulsa closed out its season with a 78-61 win over Cincinnati for its fifth and final conference win. The Golden Hurricane beat Memphis 57-52 at home in their only matchup of the season Jan. 4.

No. 10 Houston

Record: 6-24 overall, 2-16 The American

First tournament game: Friday, March 3 at 6 p.m. against Cincinnati

Leading scorer: Serithia Hawkins (8.8 ppg)

No Cougars player averages more than 10 points per game, and Houston enters the tournament as losers of eight of their last nine. The Cougars lost both matchups to the Bearcats by exactly six points.

No. 11 East Carolina

Record: 11-18, 2-14 The American

First tournament game: Friday, March 3 at 8 p.m. against No. 6 SMU

Leading scorer: Kristen Gaffney (14.6 ppg)

Gaffney and Bre McDonald are a formidable two-headed monster for the Pirates, and are top two on the team in points and rebounds per game. Even though ECU won just two conference games this year, one of those wins came against the Mustangs on Jan. 7.


Dan Madigan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering women's basketball. He can be reached via email at daniel.madigan@uconn.edu. He tweets @dmad1433.

Tyler Keating is associate sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering men’s basketball. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu. He tweets @tylerskeating.

Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at matthew.kren@uconn.edu.