Around the American: UCF, Cincinnati stay hot

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For their final game at Gampel, Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier celebrate with a full pavilion. The team defeats Houston 83-61. Their final game of the season is at USF on Monday. (Photo by Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

The past week on the women’s side of the American Athletic Conference was marked with some close contests and a continuance of strong performances by the top teams in the conference.

UCF and Cincinnati both expanded on their four-game winning streaks, each winning two games handily on Saturday and Monday. Tulsa found itself in the middle of the conference’s closest games over the week, beating Temple by a score of 64-61, then losing another close bout against ECU 64-60.

Cincinnati continued its well-balanced attack against USF and Tulane with four players scoring in double digits in both games. The Bearcats dealt USF a sound 57-43 loss on Saturday before traveling to New Orleans to dispatch Tulane by a score of 80-65. The attack was headed by freshman forward Ilmar’I Thomas, who led the team in points and rebounds in each game. Her week’s performance was highlighted by an 18-point, 12-rebound game against Tulane. Cincinnati improved their overall record to 20-9 and their conference record to 12-4.

UCF continued its string of dominance as the No. 2 team in the conference, beating Tulane Saturday afternoon before handing Houston a 59-50 defeat on their Senior Night. UCF took full advantage of each of their opponent’s mistakes, scoring 22 points off turnovers as they improved their conference record to 13-3 and their overall record to 24-5. Unlike Cincinnati’s well-balanced scoring attack, UCF’s Korneila Wright carried the offensive pressure against both teams, scoring a total of 37 points between the two games while converting on nearly half of her 31 total field goal attempts. The next highest scorer was Brittney Smith with 19 total points.

Tulsa (12-17, 6-10 The American) highlighted the week’s closest games going 1-1 in games decided by less than four points. Tulsa managed to hold on to a strong opening half to best Temple on road despite strong performances by Temple’s Marissa Mackins and Mia Davis, as each scored over 18 points. Temple made a strong comeback in the second half, outscoring Tulsa 21-13 in the third quarter. However, the comeback fell short in the fourth as Temple only managed to tie Tulsa in scoring at 18.

ECU (15-14, 6-10 The American) did what Temple could not by completing the comeback against Tulsa on Saturday. The Pirates used a 24-point fourth quarter to launch themselves to a four-point victory over Tulsa despite another strong opening half by the Hurricanes. In this bout between middle of the pack American Athletic teams, Tulsa’s starting five were outscored by their own bench by a whopping 10 points (35-25) while ECU’s starting five was responsible for 53 of their 64 total points.


Jesse Turner is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at jesse.turner@uconn.edu .

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