Women's Basketball Around the American: Tulsa and Tulane strong, others fall

Members of the Tulane women’s basketball team celebrate a win against Southern Miss on Saturday, Dec. 1 in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of  Tulane Green Wave Instagram )

Members of the Tulane women’s basketball team celebrate a win against Southern Miss on Saturday, Dec. 1 in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Tulane Green Wave Instagram)

It was a fair week for the American Athletic Conference in women’s basketball. Some of the good teams won and some of the bad ones lost. Ultimately the conference yearns for better, but several programs had quality weeks.

Tulane (6-1)

The good times kept rolling for the Green Wave. First they nearly doubled up Florida Atlantic in a 88-45 victory on Wednesday where five players scored in double digits. Freshman Dynah Jones had 19 points and six rebounds while being supplemented by Krystal Freeman (15), Kayla Manuirirangi (12), Harlyn Wyatt (12) and Kaila Anderson (10) in the offensive attack. On Saturday the Green Wave got out to an early lead, up to 40-18 at halftime and never looked back in a takedown of Southern Miss by a score of 71-54. Freeman was again quality with 12 points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Sierra Cheatham actually led the way with 13 points, and Jones had nine.

Tulsa (5-4)

It was a whirlwind of a week for the Hurricanes, as they had three games. They disposed of Abilene Christian 75-63 at home Wednesday before heading to Tempe, Arizona, for the Arizona State Classic. Against Abilene Alexis Gaulden had 24 points. In the opener in Arizona on Saturday Tulsa knocked off Alabama 80-73. Gaulden had 19 points and 12 assists, sophomore Morgan Brady had 26 points and senior forward Crystal Polk had 14 as Tulsa hit 44 percent from beyond the arc. The next night Tulsa was beat down by the hosts 70-52 and only Polk reached double figures with 14 points and seven rebounds. Former UConn Husky Courtney Ekmark had 12 points in putting Tulsa at 2-1 on the week.

UCF (6-1)

It was a one-game week for UCF so they made it count, dominating visiting Chattanooga on November 30 by a score of 75-37. Junior Guard Kay Kay Wright led the way with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting and four steals, but four other Knights reached double figures. Sophomore forward Masseny Kaba (13), redshirt junior guard Sianni Martin (10) and Senior guard Kayla Thigpen (10) all chipped into the massacre as well. The Knights shot 7-for-12 (58 percent) from 3-point range and had an impressive 15 steals.

East Carolina (5-2)

It was a tough start for the Pirates. After a 5-0 start, East Carolina dropped two this week. On Tuesday, Nov. 27, they received a 20-point drubbing from William & Mary of the CAA. Junior forward Raven Johnson played 38 minutes and had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds, while JUCO transfer Jade Lewis played 29 minutes off the bench and scored eight points, second on the team. Saturday was much closer, but the Pirates fell just short in a six-point defeat on the road against the Charlotte 49ers. Junior guard Justice Gee was the only Pirate in double figures with 12 points including 2-for-3 from deep. Johnson had four points but nine rebounds.

Wichita State (5-3)

Like East Carolina, it was a tough, winless week for the Shockers as they played in two contests over the past several days. On Nov. 27 they took on Oklahoma State from the Big 12 and lost 60-47. The gave up 30 to Braxtin Miller of the Cowboys, while their best rebuttal was 15 points and six rebounds from freshman Dawnyel Lair. A 43-24 rebounding deficit may have done them in. The Shockers tried to bounce back on Sunday against Tennessee Tech but didn’t have enough in a 55-45 defeat. Freshman Jaida Hampton had 10 points and 12 different WSU players scored, but it wasn’t enough.

Cincinnati (5-4)

Two games and two losses for the Bearcats. Just like Wichita State and East Carolina, Cincy has had their early season success dented by a pair of defeats at Ball State and Ohio State. In Muncie on Wednesday Antoinette Miller had a line of 16 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals while Angel Rizor had nine points and eight rebounds, but it wasn’t enough in a 75-63 loss. Miller, a junior guard, had 10 points and seven rebounds against the Buckeyes to go with 14 points from fellow junior guard Sam Rodgers and 10 points from Iimar’i Thomas. Still, a better Ohio State team came away with a 69-56 win.

USF (6-2)

It was a light week for perennial American juggernaut USF as they defeated UNH 79-36 at the Yuengling Center on Nov. 30. It was 21-7 after one, and 38-11 at half in a never-competitive competition. Beatriz Jordao had 17 points and eight rebounds. Laura Ferreira had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Alyssa Rader had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Shae Leverett was 5-for-5 from the field and had 12 points, while Sydni Harvey had 11 points. All that to say, many Bulls played well and put up the stats to show it.

SMU (5-4)

The Mustangs went out and split their two games on the week, putting them at 5-4 and keeping them near .500 on the season. Hosting North Texas at Moody Coliseum on Wednesday, SMU won 73-66. Alicia Froling had 15 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks. Her damage could’ve been greater but she had four fouls. Freshman Kayla White and sophomore Arianna Whitfield picked up any slack with 17 and 16 points respectively. Two days later, on the road at Northern Colorado, the Mustangs dropped a close one. White (12), Whitfield (11) and Froling (12) were joined in scoring double digits by Amber Bacon, who led with 16, but after two Froling free throws at the 39-second mark, Whitfield would turn it over and Ali Meyer hit a shot in the pain at the buzzer for the upset.

Houston (4-5)

The Cougars opened their week with a five-point loss at Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday. Serithia Hawkins had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds and Angela Harris had 16 points, but the Eagles won 76-71. Next time out Houston kept the high-scoring going, posting 84 points and earned a bounce back win over Eastern Tennessee State 84-77 on the road. Harris had 15, but it was Tatyana Hill, who led with 18. Dorian Branch had 13, and Alyssa Okoene had 10. Even with a meager shooting night, the Cougs were victorious.

Memphis (2-5)

The Tigers hosted Toledo on Wednesday in their lone trip out to the court this week. Alana Davis, a sophomore forward, had a quality game with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Off the bench Jamirah Shutes had 15 points in 35 minutes. Shutes, a freshman guard, took 20 field goals and made six. The loss to the Rockets of the MAC drops the Tigers to 2-5.

Temple (2-4)

The Owls did not play and remain at 2-4.


Matt Barresi is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.barresi@uconn.edu