Thursday, December 12, 2013
Thursday Cardinal Couple -- Catching up with The American WBB Conference
THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- THE AAC PRESENTS CHALLENGES FOR UOFL WBB
We got an e-mail the other day at CARDINAL COUPLE asking how Louisville's nine opponents in the AAC were doing this season. I knew immediately about UCONN but found I was not real sure about most of the other WBB squads that the Cards will face. So, a bit of research and...voila!...a report on the teams is below.
The name around Orlando in women's basketball is Briahanna Jackson. She's had two 30-point efforts this season -- the latest coming in a 84-79 win over Flagler. The sophomore guard has led UCF against a less than challenging pre-conference slate and gets plenty of help from Sara Djassi, Zylira Lewis, Stephanie Taylor and Brittni Montogomery.
Excuse me if I'm not impressed with a five point win over the Saints. No, not the New Orleans version.
Hopeful things for Jamelle Elliot as her freshman star Bianca Quisenberry was named AAC Rookie of the Week. And Dayeesha Hollins is playing well with 12.6 a game for the Bearcats. They get a test Sunday when Ohio State comes to town. They did beat Youngstown State in their last...but losses to Northern Kentucky and Fordham aren't anything that you write home about. Unless you play for NKU or Fordham.
What we know: #1 in the country. Better than half the men's teams in Division I.
What you may not know: They're down to six healthy scholarship players currently.
What does it mean? Those six are pretty darn good. Brianna Stewart, Bria Hartley, Saniya Chong, Brianna Banks, Stefanie Dolson and Moriah Jefferson are a strong core.
Who they play next? A respite of sorts before they tangle with #2 Duke on Dec. 17th.
Geno vs. Coach Joanne P. Must see TV.
A loss last time out to Alabama in a game where they only managed 44 points. They lost to Washington before that. I have a feeling the word "loss" is going to be a part of most of the Coogs game descriptions this season. They have talent...Yasmeen Thompson (C), Marche Amerson (G) and Te'onna Campbell (F) play stifling defense and are the leading scorers...but they'll probably dwell in the AAC cellar for the season.
Think Seton Hall stats from our previous association with that other league.
Freshman guard Breigha Wilder-Cochran was huge in a win over UAB last out with 14 points and AAC Honor roll recognition but their next against Tennessee Tech will probably put another "L" in the Tigers loss column.
Compare this. They beat Wright St. 83-75. Louisville beat Wright State 99-40. The Tigers also have losses to Samford, Ark-Little Rock, Texas A&M (by 10), Syracuse (by 19) and Texas (by 29).
Teams are taking the Tiger by the tail this year and will continue to do so...
Back in a big way is Betnijah Laney...averaging a double-double for the season (10.7/10.1). They demolished Davidson and pounded Princeton. They'll wear out Wagner in their next
game. It's a cupcake schedule...except for the loss to LSU. The defeat to UMass (2-7) is a head-scratcher.
C. Viv Stringer's squad hasn't scored over 80 points a game yet this season, though. Despite a win over Texas Tech, I'll need to see more offense out of the Scarlet Knights before I can consider them a threat to Louisville or UConn.
But...they still have Precious Person on the roster. Julie Hermann is the AD. That's enough to make me cheer for them all season long...except when they play The 'Ville.
Gone are the Smith sisters. The Russian Rocket Inga Orekhova is out with knee trouble 3 or 4 more games. Courtney Williams is filling in nicely with 15.6 a game, though, and veteran Akita McDonald is still a beast of "board"om.
Jose Fernandez also has a very talented player by the name of Ariadna Pujol from Spain on the roster that'll make an impact this season.
Losses to Clemson and Maryland aren't too surprising. Falling to Florida-Gulf Coast isn't shocking either...but this Bulls squad isn't quite the caliber of previous years.
Keena Mays is turning heads in the AAC. She's been named the Conference Player of the Week for the second straight week and third time this season. Mays had 34 against UTEP last out in a loss to the Miners. She and Louisville's Shoni Schimmel are battling for the assist lead in the conference.
The Mustangs return to ballin' on Dec. 21st against North Texas. They'll get tested soon enough...their first two AAC games are road trips to Louisville and Cincy.
They also fell to Tennessee this year. No shame in that.
A twenty point loss to city-rival St. Joseph surprised me. Freshman Feyonda Fitzgerald leads them in scoring (14.2) and they travel to Montana Saturday.
The Owls lost to Michigan State by only 4. Four starters average in double scoring figures.
They just might be might dark horse team in the AAC to crack the top four by the end of the season. Like every other women's sport they face Louisville in, though...they'll lose in hoops also to the Cardinals.
Owls. Dark horses. Bill Cosby. And Philly Cheesesteaks.