Women's Basketball: UConn wins AAC, first regular season crown since 2011
"They want a share of the title," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "(Louisville is) going to have to beat us to get it."
That is what No. 3 Louisville did, for the first seven minutes at least. The top-ranked Huskies overcame a slow start to top the Cardinals 68-48 in front of a sold-out crowd of 22,000 at the KFC Yum! Center. The win sealed a 31-0 regular season record and the outright regular season title in the American Athletic Conference.
The Huskies started off a bit shaky as Louisville jumped out to a 7-0 lea early in the first half. That was the largest deficit UConn had faced all season. However, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis banked a 3-pointer at 17:48 to get UConn on the board. Although the Huskies were able to bounce back, Louisville stayed confident and continued to dish out the fire, as they led UConn for seven minutes. Louisville made seven of its first 10 shots proving that this last regular season game would be a tough one for the Huskies.
Mosqueda-Lewis gave the Huskies their first lead of the night with 12:29 left in the first half. Although Louisville was able to shut down Breanna Stewart for most of the half, UConn scored 11 unanswered points while holding Lousiville scoreless for five minutes. Although the Cardinals opened up the game strong, UConn's defense was able to hold Louisville to a 37.5 field goal percentage by the end of the first half.
Louisville senior Tia Gibbs and junior Sara Hammond led the Cardinals offense with 16 points and 12 points respectively. Louisville's top scorer, Shoni Schimmel, was not a factor at all tonight against the Huskies. With a mere nine points, she was 4 of 14 in field goals and was unable to make an impact.
Although Stewart was contained in the first half, she was able to come back in the second and contribute. Stewart racked up a career-high of 14 rebounds and was the leading scorer with 22 points. Moriah Jefferson, Hartley and Mosqueda-Lewis all racked up double-digit points, while Hammond and Gibbs were the only two Louisville players in double figures. The rest of Louisville's team scored a total of 20 combined points, which was two less than what Stewart scored by herself.
Despite the shaky start for UConn, they were able to come back and make adjustments to win the game. With the win, UConn is the No. 1 seed in the American Athletic Conference tournament. Although UConn shook off the Cardinals twice this season, they will likely play again in the tournament this weekend. UConn will play Saturday against the winner of the opening game of the tournament between Cincinnati and UCF. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3.
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