The Michelle Clark-Heard-led Bearcats improved to 2-1 in the American this week and 11-5 overall with a pair of wins against conference foes.
On Wednesday evening, UC finished off its first conference road trip in style, overcoming a fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Memphis Tigers 73-66. Senior guard Antoinette Miller exploded for a career high 27 points, 12 of which were scored in the fourth quarter. Miller played wire-to-wire in this game, posting 40 minutes of playing time in the conference tilt. The veteran Bearcats club also received strong low-post work from junior forward I’Imari Thomas, who netted her fourth double-double of the season with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
Just like last year, Thomas is a legitimate contender for AAC Player of the Year. Before the Bearcats’ conference home opener on Sunday, Cincinnati honored Thomas for earning her 1,000th career point during the win over Memphis. Thomas becomes just the 27th player in Cincinnati history to reach this milestone.
During Sunday’s nationally televised contest, the Bearcats put on a show for the viewers on ESPN2 as well as the home crowd at Fifth Third Arena. Shooting better than 50 percent from the field, Cincinnati dropped the UCF Golden Knights like a bad habit. Despite their status as perennial AAC contenders, UCF proved no match for the Bearcats, who were once again led by Thomas. The junior forward netted a career-high 32 points in the win, dominating all comers in the low-post throughout the contest.
Cincinnati jumped out to a 21-15 lead in the first quarter and never let up, building their lead consistently through the first three frames before Coach Clark-Heard turned the fourth quarter over to the bench.
Senior guards Sam Rodgers added 10 points and six assists to the cause while senior forward Angel Rizor also added 10 in the win. In 32 minutes of action, Antoinette MIller posted 16 points, reaching double figures for the eleventh time this season.
Cincinnati has a light work-week ahead. They play just one contest as they head down to New Orleans for a Saturday afternoon contest with Tulane. Check back with Down the Drive for full coverage of the Bearcats’ push for an NCAA Tournament bid as they navigate their way through the difficult American conference.