The first weekend of The American is in the books and while no marquee games have taken place yet (that comes tonight as Connecticut takes on Stanford) we now have standings and our first glimpse at how this season will unfold.
If you read my article on Houston's season opener, you know it's going to be tough sledding for the Cougars all year long. Losing a sloppy game to the team ranked to finish last in the SEC? No disrespect to Mississippi State, but that's a tough way for Houston to get their season starting. You also know that officiating is going to be tight in the AAC -- though based on last night's Cal/Duke game, this may be a NCAA-wide move.
Connecticut rolled over Hartford 89-34 as four of their starters scored in double digits. Center Stefanie Dolson had a great night as she posted 16 points, six rebounds and three assists while shooting 7-8 from the field and 2-2 from 3-point range. As a team, the Huskies shot 60 percent from the field. Whatever, they creamed Hartford. Good try, good effort. Let's see how they fare against the Trees of Stanford tonight and No. 8 Maryland on Friday.
Louisville smashed the Loyola Ramblers 101-54. No matter the opponent, scoring 100 points in a 40 minutes game is not something we get to see often enough in the women's college game. Probably because the match-ups are usually more fair than this.
Rutgers played a fairly competitive game against Princeton but won 79-65. Tyler Scaife started her college career by shooting 5-9 for 13 points. She also picked up a couple of rebounds and an assist but turned the ball over four times. Betnijah Laney posted a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds to go along with five assists; not a bad night at the office.
Southern Methodist took down Grambling State 87-65 at home, but Wednesday night's matchup against the TCU Horned Frogs should be much more interesting.
Temple beat La Salle 60-47 despite trailing by as many as eight points in the game and four points at halftime. The Owls responded by outscoring La Salle by 17 points in the second half and running away with the game. The game featured 47 turnovers(!) and 34 personal fouls. Sounds like an absolute joy for a spectator.
The University of Central Florida was one of two teams to beat Central Connecticut State this weekend and while the Knights also suffered from a slow first half (they led 24-23 at the half) they pummeled the Blue Devils in the second period to earn a 65-51 victory.
Memphis is one of two schools to play two games this past weekend (three if you count Connecticut playing tonight) and the Tigers split their games. They earned a 77-74 overtime win at home against East Tennessee State and then fell to Samford 62-60. They play three more games before the big tests begin as they play Texas A&M, Syracuse and Texas in a span of three days. Good luck!
South Florida played Maryland very competitive despite falling 78-70. Despite trailing by 15 points at the half, the Bulls stormed back into the game and for a while it appeared an upset might be brewing at the Sun Dome. An 0-11 night for Inga Orekhova and a 3-11 night for Shalethia Stringfield didn't help the Bulls' cause much as even Alisia Jenkins' 13 points and 11 rebounds wasn't enough. They bounced back to be the second of two AAC teams to beat Central Connecticut; they won 81-47. Ow.
Cincinnati opened their season the road with a 77-61 loss to Northern Kentucky. The Bearcats shot 36 percent from the field and turned the ball over 17 times in the loss. They will take on the Florida State Seminoles on Wednesday.
Houston lost a sloppy game to the Mississippi State Bulldogs and will play their first road game of the season against Northwestern State on Wednesday night. They play Texas A&M at home on Sunday.