UConn women's basketball gets well-deserved time off before AAC tournament

Published on Tuesday, 27 February 2018 20:40
Written by Carl Adamec

Journal Inquirer

STORRS - Geno Auriemma is going to give his UConn women’s basketball team some time off before the Huskies begin their bid for a fifth consecutive American Athletic Conference Tournament title.

But judging from the Hall of Fame coach’s comments following top-ranked UConn’s 82-53 win over No. 20 South Florida at Gampel Pavilion, he may need the mini-break more than his players before they return to practice and prepare for Sunday’s quarterfinal game at Mohegan Sun Arena.

“What are we going to work on? I don’t know,” Auriemma said. “I have no idea. With these guys today, it doesn’t matter.

“This is how I describe it. You could say to some of our players, ‘Today is Monday. I think we need to work on this. Go tell them.’ And they will go over (two steps) and say, ‘Coach said something about next Monday, but I don’t know what he wants.’ So that’s kind of the world that we’ve inherited now in basketball. You just hope that half of what we talk about registers. So far, so good, but I’m not celebrating at home.”

While there was no suspense here Monday night, there was plenty in Memphis and New Orleans where the results would determine UConn’s first opponent.

In Memphis, the host Tigers rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit and slipped past Temple 83-78 in overtime to clinch the No. 8 seed for the league tourney.

Meanwhile in New Orleans, Tulane came from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to pull out a 52-46 win over SMU to take the No. 9 seed.

Memphis and Tulane will play Saturday for the right to play top-seeded UConn on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

USF, Central Florida, and Cincinnati also earned first-round byes. If seeds hold the first day, the Huskies would face Cincinnati or Houston in the semifinals Monday.

Cincinnati topped Houston 61-57 on Monday to get the No. 4 seed and got the Bearcats’ Jamelle Elliott an endorsement for AAC Coach of the Year.

“I voted for her, but maybe I’m biased,” Auriemma said. “I don’t know where they were picked (preseason eighth), but it wasn’t anywhere near fourth. She has done a terrific, terrific job this year. She deserves to be Coach of the Year.”

The championship game is set for 5 p.m. a week from today.

Posted in Newington Town Crier, UConn on Tuesday, 27 February 2018 20:40. Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2018 20:42.