Around the American: Up and down week across the conference

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Connecticut forward Napheesa Collier (24) goes to the basket between Tulane forward Krystal Freeman (23) and center Harlyn Wyatt in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Connecticut forward Napheesa Collier (24) goes to the basket between Tulane forward Krystal Freeman (23) and center Harlyn Wyatt in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Now deep into conference play, a natural order of sorts is shaking out and teams are jockeying for position in the American conference standings. While UConn remains a juggernaut, several other teams have had impressive showings.

Tulane (13-6, 3-3):

The Green Wave only had one game this past week, a 62-44 drubbing at the hands of Wichita State at home. Krystal Freeman was the only player with double-figures, scoring 12 along with six rebounds. The team shot an abhorrent 29.6 percent from the field, and while the loss drops them to 3-3, they are in a tie for fifth in the conference standings.

Tulsa (9-10, 3-3):

The Hurricanes have been hovering around mediocrity all season and fell below .500 on the season when they went to Houston and got blown out 76-44 to the Cougars. Sophomore guard Rebecca Lescay had 13 points but Houston outrebounded them 50-36 and Tulsa shot a paltry 2 – of – 14 from three-point range.

UCF (17-3, 6-1):

The non-UConn class of the American this season finally met up with UConn and dropped their first conference contest, 97-53. Kayla Thigpen (14), Sianni Martin (13) and Nyala Shuler (13) all put some points on the board but it was a moot effort. Earlier in the week, UCF took down ECU 61-58 in overtime. Shuler played 40 minutes, scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Despite a 2 of 13 performance from deep, the victory helped maintain a firm grasp on the AAC’s two spot.

East Carolina (10-9, 1-5):

ECU did lose the aforementioned tight contest to UCF, a missed opportunity that is a continuation of tough time in conference play. Lashona Monk racked up 27 points in the loss, including 10 of 12 at the free throw line. They did not rebound well, going to Temple and losing by 22 in a 84-62 defeat on Sunday afternoon. Senior Alex Frazier had 19 points, 10 rebounds while junior Raven Johnson had 18 and six.

Wichita State (8-11, 1-5):

The Shockers lone result was that strong 18-point win against Tulane. Senior big Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage had 16 points, junior guard Ashley Reid had 16 and forward Raven Prince had 12 points, eight rebounds. It was their first conference win and they are tied with Temple and East Carolina at the bottom at 1-5 in American play

Cincinnati (13-7, 5-2):

A pair of home games brought the Bearcats a pair of wins this past week. On Wednesday, Cincy hosted Houston and defeated them by 11, 68-57. Over the weekend Memphis came to town and was dispatched 80-56. Against Houston, Antoinette Miller had 21 points on 5 – of – 10 from the field, 3 – of – 4 from three. Ilmar’l Thomas chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds while Florence Sifa had 10 points. Thomas had 19 points and Miller 11, along with 12 assists, as six players scored in double digits against the Tigers. They are now third in the conference.

USF (11-9, 2-4):

It has been an atypical season for the normally winning Bulls. This week they took two close losses where the defense was solid, but the offense came up short. They hosted Memphis on Wednesday, falling 47-40. Junior big Tamara Henshaw had 16 points, 11 rebounds and sophomore center Shae Leverett had eight points, 12 rebounds. Heartbreak followed in their weekend game against SMU where they 46-44. Henshaw had 13 points and 15 boards while freshman point guard Sydni Harvey had 17 points. However, her six turnovers hurt, and USF came up just short.

SMU (8-12, 2-5):

Coming to UConn has never been a winning proposition in the American, but the Mustangs were absolutely blasted on Wednesday in Connecticut. There were few positives to take away in a 79-39 defeat, but SMU had a couple quality, and symmetrical, stat lines as Alicia Froling had 13 points and 13 rebounds while Johnasia Cash had 12 and 12 The Mustangs recovered by taking a close one against South Floirda, 46 to 44. Kayla White had 12 points and Cash supported her with six points, 10 rebounds.

Houston (10-9, 4-2):

The Cougars blew out Tulsa on Saturday, 76-44 on Saturday. Tatyana Hill led the way with 17 points while Dorian Branch had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Serithia Hawkins also had an impressive 10 boards to go with nine points. Prior to that Houston had traveled to Cincinnati and taken a tough 11-point loss. It was a well-rounded effort as two players had eight points, two had nine and Julia Fair-Blackshell had 13 points. Hawkins just missed the double-double again with eight points, 12 rebounds.

Memphis (8-11, 3-3):

Memphis opened their week with a 47-40 victory at USF where junior guard Taylor Barnes and sophomore forward Alana Davis had 11 points apiece. They followed it up with an unimpressive beatdown against Cincinnati, losing 80-56 on the road. Sophomore guard Jada Stinson scored 10 points and junior forward Kiana Coomber was strong with 11 points and nine rebounds while Davis had 10 points. The Tigers remain even in conference play.

Temple (5-14, 1-5):

The Owls defended home court, picking up a needed victory over fellow cellar dweller ECU on Sunday, 84-62. Senior guard Alliya Butts played like the explosive scorer she is with 28 points on 9 of 19 from the field, 3 of 5 from deep. She was supplemented by Mia Davis who had 20 points of her own to go with 10 rebounds. Lena Niang had 13 points as well. The Owls were also active in non-conference play, losing a Philadelphia Big Five game to Penn 71-62. Davis had 15 points and freshman Marissa Mackins hit five of her 10 three-pointers on the way to 19 points.


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

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