The Cincinnati Bearcats women’s basketball team enters the American Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament this weekend as the No. 4 seed. Below you can find the full bracket for the tourney.
Here is an executive summary of the field.
#1 Connecticut: Undefeated, untied. The best team in the country as usual. Probably the 10 best players in this conference are all on the UConn roster. Junior forward Katie Lou Samuelson is a better rebounding version of Jerry West. Junior forward Napheesa Collier has speed and power and is reminiscent of James Worthy.
#2 South Florida: Long, tall and quick. UConn’s only genuine challenger. Kitija Laksa, a 6’0 junior guard from Latvia, is one of the AAC’s leading scorers, averaging nearly 23 points per game.
#3 Central Florida: A grittier version of USF. Quick and blessed with a deep bench. There is no one dominant player on this team, but the Knights feature about nine high quality starters and reserves.
#5 Houston: Houston is one of the best and most frequent three-point shooting teams in the country. A triumvirate of sophomores, guards Jasmyne Harris (19.8 ppg) and Angela Harris (13.2 ppg) as well as forward Dorian Branch (11.4 ppg), are all shooting better than 35 percent from beyond the arc.
#6: Wichita State: Senior forward Rangie Bessard is Wichita State’s unquestionable leader. She averages close to 19 points and 10 rebounds per game. At 6’1, she is a long and powerful force in the low-post.
#8 Memphis: A young team anchored by veteran point guard Brea Elmore, who is a good scorer and consistent playmaker.
#9 Tulane: The Green Wave have been going through a rebuilding year. Senior guard Kolby Morgan has played well in spite of this, averaging nearly 20 points per game.
#10 SMU: The Mustangs struggled in 2017-2018 but senior guard McKenzie Adams is a solid scorer.
#12 Tulsa: Better guard the perimeter against Houston in their playdown game.
Prediction: Chalk. I think the AAC shook down in 2017-2018 as a genuine representation of the quality of its 12 teams. UConn is clearly the best team in the field. USF is clearly the second best team. UCF is clearly the bronze medalist. Cincinnati has the unenviable task of trying to beat Houston for a third time in a single season. I think the Bearcats’ depth will enable them to do so in a tight game. In terms of the play-in games, I envision Tulane knocking off Memphis as the only upset in the field.
Check back with Down the Drive all weekend for full coverage of the AAC women’s basketball tournament.