Around the American: Top Seeds Prepare for Postseason

 The UConn Women's Basketball team defeats USF 82-53 on Senior Night in Gampel Pavilion on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. The graduating seniors were Forward Gabby Williams (15) and and guard Kia Nurse (11). (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The UConn Women's Basketball team defeats USF 82-53 on Senior Night in Gampel Pavilion on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. The graduating seniors were Forward Gabby Williams (15) and and guard Kia Nurse (11). (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

This was a week of Monday games for women’s basketball around the American as several high-profile games were played earlier in the week.

The number one team in the conference, UConn, beat USF 82-53 on Monday. It was the last regular game of the season for the Huskies as well as Senior Night for Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams. With the win, UConn snapped USF’s nine-game winning streak.

UConn is the first seed for the American Athletic Conference Championship while USF secured the second seed.

Leading the way for USF was Kitija Laksa, who scored 12 of her team-high 14 points in the second half.

UConn’s Azura Stevens led all scorers with 21 points.

Another big game within the conference was UCF defeating ECU 75-54. It was the first time since UCF became a member of the AAC that they have closed out the regular season with a win.

“I think we just wanted a win for the seniors,” UCF head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. “We wanted to win on this floor.”

After just one-quarter of play, UCF had a 24-9 lead over ECU. UCF’s Aliyah Gregory led all scorers with 14 points.

It was the first season with at least 20 wins for UCF since the 1984-1985 season.

“I think that’s been great for us,” Gregory said of the 20-win season. “We’ve done very well in the month of January and February. We put in the necessary work throughout the season and the preseason in order to put ourselves in this position. It feels good to see all of our hard work paying off.”

All 10 members of UCF’s squad scored a point in the game.

The Knights are a third seed for the American Athletic Conference Championship and have earned a bye. They will face the winner of No. 6 Wichita State and No. 11 Temple in the quarterfinals.

The last big Monday night game in the conference was Cincinnati beating Houston 61-57. With the win, Cincinnati clinched the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye. The Bearcats will face the winner of No. 12 Tulsa and No. 5 Houston on Sunday.

In the Cincinnati game, the Bearcats led by as many as 17 points but almost blew their win in the fourth quarter, allowing Houston to pull within three. The Cougars were able to hold on, however, and seal the win.

This upcoming weekend will be the AAC Conference Championship at Mohegan Sun.


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