After sweeping the first regular season in American Athletic Conference history, No. 1 UConn received a slew of league awards Thursday.
Four Huskies, seniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley and sophomores Moriah Jefferson and Breanna Stewart, were named the AAC’s first team Thursday by the league coaches.
Dolson, who became just the fifth player in program history with 1,000 rebounds, was also chosen as the AAC’s defensive player of the year and shared its sportsmanship award with Louisville’s Tia Gibbs.
UConn’s Kelly Faris was the Big East’s defensive player of the Year last season. She was the first to win that award since Ashley Battle in 2002-03.
Guard Saniya Chong was named to the all-freshman team. And juniors Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiahh Stokes were named to the second team.
Here is the television schedule for the upcoming American Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena…
The first- and second-round games are only on ESPN3, a streaming video service. To see which devices you can use click here.
Just click on this link for the address that gets you there and look for the event you want to watch.. If your signal is strong, you will be able see it like you are watching on television. If it is not, then you will need to be patient, call ESPN, listen to Bob Joyce and Debbie Fiske on the radio or follow me on Twitter.
First Round – Friday
FR1 – 6:00 PM ET #8 Cincinnati vs #9 UCF – ESPN3
FR2 – 8:00 PM ET #7 Memphis vs #10 Houston – ESPN3
Quarterfinals – Saturday
Q1 – 12:00 PM ET #4 Rutgers vs #5 SMU/Temple – ESPN3
Q2 – 2:00 PM ET #1 UConn vs FR1 Winner – ESPN3
Q3 – 6:00 PM ET #2 Louisville vs FR2 Winner – ESPN3
Q4 – 8:00 PM ET #3 USF vs #6 SMU/Temple – ESPN3
Semifinals – Sunday
FR1 – 1:00 PM ET TBA vs. TBA – ESPNU
FR2 – 3:00 PM ET TBA vs. TBA – ESPNU
Championship Game – Monday
FR1 – 7:00 PM ET TBA vs TBA – ESPN
Breanna Stewart is the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week for the fourth time this season.
The UConn sophomore averaged 21.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.67 blocks in wins at SMU, against No. 24 Rutgers and at No. 3 Louisville.
She opened the week with a 23-point, five-rebound outing on 11-for-21 shooting at SMU on Feb. 25. Stewart posted a double-double of 20 points, 10 rebounds vs. the Scarlet Knights on Saturday and helped UConn win the inaugural American women’s basketball regular-season title Monday with 22 points and 14 rebounds
UConn did not shrug its shoulders with disinterest Monday night after wrapping up the first American Athletic Conference regular-season championship.
It took no less joy in the enormity of the accomplishment, even though no conference team came within 17 points (Louisville on Feb. 9) of beating it on the way to 18-0.
“We talked about it in the locker room,” Geno Auriemma said. “I think that is one of the dangers of playing at Connecticut, especially when a team comes back after winning the national championship the year before.
“You know, from September, all the talk is about winning another national championship. And before you know it, you forget to celebrate all the little things that happen along the way.
“So I reminded them [Monday] just how much this team has accomplished in the 31 games of the regular season. Take a look where we’ve won, who we have beat, how we have played; playing with six guys, seven guys. It’s something to be proud of, although it’s not something we talk about very often.
“We don’t stand on a podium and say we are great, but we have done a lot of great things this year. Sometimes we need to take a step back and take a look at it.”
As the No. 1 seed in this weekend’s first American Athletic Conference tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena, UConn will play the winner of Friday’s 8-9 first-round game between Cincinnati and Central Florida in the quarterfinals.
UConn’s quarterfinal will be played at approximately 2 p.m. on Saturday. Their possible semifinal game will be played Sunday at 1 p.m.
Should UConn make it to the championship game, it will be played Monday at 7 p.m.
All tournament games until the semifinals will be televised on ESPN3, which is the network’s internet access platform. The semifinals will be on ESPNU. The championship game is on ESPN.
The complete seeding for the tournament will be official until later Tuesday morning. The UCF-SMU women’s basketball game, originally scheduled for Monday in Dallas, has been rescheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m. Due to inclement weather in the Dallas area, SMU was unable to return home following Saturday’s game at USF.
SMU (16-12, 7-10) enters the matchup tied with Temple in league standings. UCF (10-18, 3-14) has clinched the No. 9 seed at the upcoming American Women’s Basketball Championship.
Why risk raising a callous thumbing through the record book for the chapter UConn has failed to update lately?
Here’s all you need to know: The Huskies did not win the regular-season Big East championship in either of their last two seasons. Each went to Notre Dame. You may remember Notre Dame.
In fact, the two-year drought had happened only three times since UConn’s first Big East title in 1988-89.
This did not sit well with UConn. And it made Monday’s battle for the first American Athletic Conference banner a little more critical for the Huskies, Louisville and the women’s record 22,163 who jammed KFC Yum! Center Monday to watch. UConn wanted the title. The Cardinals wanted the title. UConn usually gets what it wants.
After spotting the Cardinals the game’s first seven points, the Huskies shut down their offense and pounded the offensive boards for a 68-48 win and the first AAC title.
No. 1 UCONN WOMEN at No. 3 LOUISVILLE
Site: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky.
Time: 7 p.m.
TV: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins and Stephanie White)
Radio: WTIC-AM 1080, WILI-AM 1400 (Bob Joyce and Debbie Fiske)
Series history: UConn, 14-1
Last meeting: UConn, 81-64, Feb. 9, 2014, Gampel Pavilion
Streaks: UConn W36; Louisville W5
When Notre Dame left the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference after last season, it ended what was the most compelling series in women’s college basketball.
It also left UConn behind to fend for itself in the new American Athletic Conference, where new rivalries would likely take years to shape and fuel.
Of course, there was one exception – Louisville.
For this season only, before the Cardinals also leave for the ACC, the Cardinals promised to provide the kind of conference competition the Huskies had grown accustomed to from Notre Dame.
Not that Louisville and UConn haven’t already had their own moments; two national champion game meetings (2009 and 20013) tend to leave their mark.
The raising of the uniform numbers of Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley to the Huskies Wall of Honor Saturday put a symbolic bow on the All-American careers of two of the finest players in UConn women’s basketball history.
“There was never a time I threw at anything [responsibility] are Bria when she gave me the idea she didn’t want it or couldn’t handle it,” Geno Auriemma said. “She wanted the pressure, wanted the ball late in the game. She wanted it all on her shoulders. And it hasn’t changed since she walked into the building.”
But it also recalled a time when the two were part of a five-player freshman class that also included forwards Samarie Walker and Michala Johnson and guard Lauren Engeln.
Walker left the program midway through her freshman season and transferred to Kentucky. Johnson (Wisconsin) and Engeln (Boston College) left after their sophomore season. All three are playing regularly with their new programs.
Senior Days come and go, leaving a trail of tears, nostalgia and statistical minutiae in their wake. But they all have something else in common aside from emotional release.
When they are over, they leave behind others to carry the aspirations and traditions into the future.
So it was again Saturday at Gampel Pavilion when the No. 1 Huskies said their ceremonial goodbyes to Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley, two of the greatest All-Americans in their history.
In pregame ceremonies, their numbers were added to the Huskies Wall of Honor, cementing their memories for Senior Days to come, even though they will be back at Gampel in three weeks for the first two rounds of NCAA play.
Next was the business of the day, the game against Rutgers. And that is when sophomores Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson and junior stepped to their own stage, one that grows exponentially larger every time they lace up her Nikes.
Stewart’s assault on AAC Player of the Year and first-team All-American honors took another big step when she scored 20 points and 10 rebounds to help lead UConn to a 72-35 win over the No. 24 Scarlet Knights before a sellout of 10,167.