OK, let’s get the facts out of the way first: The #2-ranked UConn Huskies are the champions of the American Athletic Conference in Women’s Basketball - again - after beating the UCF Knights 66-45 in the conference championship game at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
UConn is now 120-0 against everyone else in The American since the league started in 2013.
Napheesa Collier was the unanimous selection for Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, finishing with 25 points on the night.
The line was UConn -20.5 (according to 5dimes). UConn won by 21. They don’t even let you have that.
Alright, that’s done.
Let’s give some credit to UCF, who seemed remarkably self-aware of the situation they were up against, and celebrated heading home with the runners-up trophy:
We’re all Ny’s mood right now— UCF Women's Hoops (@UCF_WBB) March 12, 2019
Thanks for all the support, Knight Nation! We you! pic.twitter.com/H6vmSzz4zS
This is nice to see. So is this:
Nothing can describe this feeling! All the work that this team has put in is paying off but we’re not done yet! pic.twitter.com/ddP8OhisP9— Ny Shuler (@Ny_12shuler) March 12, 2019
UCF celebrating their runner-up trophy as "AAC Champions besides UConn" which, honestly, is a great way to look at it— Daniel Connolly (@DanielVConnolly) March 12, 2019
Things You Should Know
- UCF is going dancing. Barring an injustice beyond comprehension, UCF will see their name on the bracket when it’s revealed next Monday at 7 p.m. Charlie Creme, ESPN’s Women’s Basketball Bracketologist, has them as a 10-seed. They’re not done yet.
- This is still the best season in UCF women’s basketball history. 26-6 is still the best record in program history. Can’t take that away.
- Some things happened in this game that were good:
- UCF outscored UConn 30-27 in the second half and 14-9 in the third quarter.
- UCF’s bench outscored UConn’s 35-0.
- UCF cut the UConn lead, which was as much as 28, down to 17 with 3:44 left.
Afterward, Geno Auriemma looked ticked at Coach Abe for how UCF played down the stretch of this one (about 2:45 of the highlights above). Post game:
On the words exchanged in the handshake line ... Auriemma: “Just typical women’s basketball bullsh....” pic.twitter.com/luX6bMP9e0— Mike Anthony (@ManthonyCourant) March 12, 2019
So UCF did pretty much all they could, and UConn won. Because they’re UConn. That was expected. And we might have re-ignited the ConFLiCT in the process.
But the best part is they made lemonade out of lemons, smiled their way off the court and held their heads remarkably high. That may not have been expected, but it’s one way of looking forward to what comes next, because they’re not done yet.
At the end of the 2015-16 season, this senior class had seven total wins. Three years later, they have 26 (and counting) and played in the championship game.— Megan Herboth (@MeganHerboth) March 12, 2019
They work hard. They play hard. They deserve this moment.
But I know they’re not done making history yet https://t.co/GGb6RSE9fo