College Basketball: UConn Women Now 100-0 in AAC Play

  • Cincinnati's Sam Rodgers (11) shoots as Connecticut's Azura Stevens (23) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the American Athletic Conference tournament semifinals at Mohegan Sun Arena, Monday, March 5, 2018, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Monday, March 05, 2018

Uncasville, Conn. — Azura Stevens scored 21 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead top-ranked UConn to a 75-21 rout of Cincinnati in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Monday night.

Napheesa Collier added 13 points for the Huskies (31-0), who have now won 100 games against AAC opponents without a loss since the league began play in 2013.

UConn led from the start and used a 38-0 run that stretched from the first quarter into the third to put the game away.

Andeija Puckett had five points for Cincinnati, which fell to 19-12.

No. 19 South Florida 74Central Florida 59

Uncasville, Conn. — Kitija Laksa scored 20 points and Laura Ferreira added 17 to lead South Florida to a win over rival UCF in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Maria Jespersen chipped in with 12 for the Bulls (26-6), who advanced to the conference final for the fourth straight season. Their three previous trips have ended in losses to UConn, which the the Bulls will face in the finals.

Zakiya Saunders had 20 points to lead UCF (21-10).

No. 22 Green Bay 66Youngstown State 45

Detroit — Jessica Lindstrom scored 17 points and set a program Division I record with 1,000 career rebounds and Green Bay reached the Horizon League championship game for the eighth-straight season with a victory over Youngstown State.

Youngstown State led by two points at the break, but Karly Murphy scored six straight points to cap a second-half opening 8-0 run for Green Bay. After YSU scored its first basket of the second half at the 3:31 mark, Lindstrom opened and closed a 13-2 run with 3-pointers to make it 47-33 entering the fourth quarter. A 7-0 run to start the final frame made it a 21-point lead.


No. 7 Gonzaga 88San Francisco 60

Las Vegas — Killian Tillie scored 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting, including connecting on all five 3-pointers, to lead No. 7 Gonzaga past San Francisco in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinal game.

Tillie has made all 10 3-point attempts at the tournament and is 19-of-23 from the field.

Top-seeded Gonzaga will be going for their sixth consecutive WCC Tournament title tonight. They await the winner of the Saint Mary’s-BYU game.

Iona 83, Fairfield 71

Albany, n.y. — Roland Griffin and Zach Lewis, transfers playing their first seasons with the Gaels, combined to score 49 points and Iona beat Fairfield to capture the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament title for the third straight time and earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

It was the fourth MAAC title for coach Tim Cluess and every bit as sweet as the others, if not moreso, because of all the doubters that surfaced after the Gaels started the season 1-4 after being picked to win the conference.

Iona (20-13), the fourth seed, extended its league record to 11 tournament titles. Fairfield (17-16), the sixth seed, had won seven straight games and was seeking its fourth title.

But the Stags were no match inside for the Gaels, who outscored them 44-22 in the paint instead of relying so much on the long ball. Iona entered the game averaging nearly 10 made 3s per game and attempted just 13.

“We were mindful of their shooting and they found another way to hurt you,” Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson said.

Griffin had a career-high 29 points, four blocks, and made all 11 free throws he attempted.

“The whole year coach said just make plays,” said Griffin, who played at Illinois State and Midland College in Texas before transferring to Iona for his final two years of eligibility.”

Lewis, a graduate transfer from Canisius, was named tournament MVP after scoring 20 points and nabbing a game-high four steals.

“This is amazing,” Lewis said at the podium afterward, the shiny championship trophy at his side,” Lewis said. “All I want to do is win. That’s why I came here.”

Iona’s path to its sixth straight MAAC championship game was made easier when the top three top seeds — Rider, Canisius, and Niagara — were eliminated in the quarterfinals.

It was the first time since 2002 that the top three failed to make the semifinals, and the Gaels took advantage. They edged Saint Peter’s 65-62 in the semifinals, never gaining the lead until three minutes remained. Fairfield beat Quinnipiac 74-64 in the other semifinal behind 21 points and 11 rebounds from Ferron Flavors Jr. and 19 points from Tyler Nelson.

Although Nelson’s final MAAC game didn’t turn out the way he envisioned, he didn’t disappoint, hitting 6 of 8 from behind the arc and scoring 25 points to help keep the Stags in the hunt for the championship.

When it was over, Nelson and Johnson embraced along the sideline for several seconds.

“Obviously, that moment was a tough moment, but it was also something I’ll remember the rest of my life,” Nelson said. “I’m just thankful to him.”

Iona and Fairfield split during the regular season, each winning at home, but the Stags struggled a lot in this one, especially inside against a team that had finished the regular season on the skids, losing three of its final four games before coming alive in the tournament.

The Stags trailed 43-37 at the break and Iona stormed out in the second half and built the lead to double digits with a 7-1 flurry, a 3 from the left corner by Rickey McGill boosting the margin to 50-38 at 17:04.

After Flavors briefly stopped the surge with a 3, Griffin scored four points and McGill hit an open 3 from the top of the key to make it 57-41 and the Stags were reeling. A fallaway 3-pointer by Deyshonee Much gave the Gaels a commanding 64-44 lead midway through the second half.

Nelson hit his sixth 3 of the game with 5:25 to go to cut the lead to 11 and give Fairfield a glimmer of hope, and a layup by Jonathan Kasibabu completed a 10-4 run that narrowed the gap to 75-69 with a minute left. The Gaels sank four straight free throws in the final seconds to secure the win.


Fairfield committed eight turnovers in the first seven minutes but stayed with the Gaels in the first half by hitting from long range. Fairfield finished 7 of 12 from behind the arc in the period but hit only 4 of 17 in the second.


Fairfield missed only one of 22 foul shots in the semifinals, hitting all 19 in the second half. Against Iona, they finished 10 of 20.


Fairfield: The Stags lose Nelson, who hit 104 3-pointers on the season. But returning is Flavors, and the junior made 95 from behind the arc this year.

Iona: The Gaels have struck out in the NCAA Tournament in 12 appearances, but if Griffin and Lewis continue to excel, Iona will pose a tough matchup in the first round.


Fairfield: The Stags await an invite to a postseason tournament.

Iona: The Gaels await their seed for the NCAA Tournament.


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