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Women’s Basketball UConn set to begin AAC play

January 5, 2019

By now, the numbers are well-documented.

The UConn women aren’t just dominant in American Athletic Conference play, they’re unbeatable. In five seasons since leaving the Big East, the Huskies have gone 101-0 against the rest of the conference. Even more impressively, only one of those games (63-60 over Tulane on Feb. 18, 2017) was decided by single digits.

Will that change this season? Will the Huskies, who tip off conference play Sunday at Houston (noon), be challenged? No and no.

The Huskies remain the odds-on favorite to win a sixth straight AAC title. And even that’s putting it mildly.

Outside of the Huskies, who are 11-1 and ranked No. 1 nationally, no one else from the AAC is even receiving votes in the Associated Press Poll.

Here’s a look at how the rest of the conference has fared so far. (Rankings based on preseason coaches’ poll; statistics through Friday).

2. USF: Few teams around the country have been as unlucky as the Bulls (9-5), who lost two of their top three scorers, All-American guard Kitija Laksa (knee) and forward Beatriz Jordao (leg), to season-ending injuries. The Bulls opened the year ranked No. 22 in the AP poll, but, with only 10 healthy players, getting back to a fifth straight conference final could be difficult.

3. Houston: As expected, the Cougars (6-7) run through their guards, Jasmyne and Angela Harris, but they’re also no pushover in the paint. They lead the conference and are 24th nationally in offensive rebounding (16.0 per game).

4. UCF: Led by guard Korneila Wright (19.2 ppg), the Knights are off to their best start (11-2) in program history. Arguably their best win was a 71-56 victory over Villanova.

5. Cincinnati: Michelle Clark-Heard, who replaced Jamelle Elliott — who’s now back at UConn in an administrative position — has the Bearcats at 8-5.

6. Temple: Despite having one of the conference’s best one-two punches in Mia Davis and Alliya Butts, the Owls (4-8) have struggled.

7. SMU: After sitting out all last season with a knee injury, forward Alicia Froling has bounced back to average 13.2 points and 11.4 rebounds.

8. East Carolina: The good news is the Pirates are 9-4. The bad news is their schedule is ranked 307th nationally.

9. Tulane: Beating Central Michigan 68-57 was a quality non-conference win for the Green Wave (10-3).

10. Wichita State: The Shockers (7-7) have depth, but is it the right kind of depth? Five players are averaging between 9.6 and 6.1 points.

11. Memphis: The fact that the Tigers (5-8) struggled against a weak non-conference schedule doesn’t bode well for the next two months.

12. Tulsa: Junior Shug Dickson transferred last month to Texas Tech, leaving the Golden Hurricane (7-7) without one of their top guards.

dbonjour

@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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