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AAC Tournament Quarterfinals Preview and Award Winners

Brian Grindrod of The UConn Blog checks in to give us a preview on the AAC Tournament, as well as their award winners for the 2014-15 season.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Last night was the start of the American Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. There were not many surprises during the first round on Friday night.

AAC Quarterfinals Preview

(all games on ESPN3 and all times are Eastern)

12 p.m. – No. 5 East Carolina (20-9; 11-7) vs. No. 4 Temple (16-15; 12-6)

Both teams only met once during the regular season, which happened to be last Saturday. Temple won 79-69 behind 22 points from Erica Colvile. I’Tiana Taylor scored 22 points for the Pirates. The winner of this match-up will likely face No. 1 UConn in the semifinals on Sunday night.

2 p.m. – No. 9 Cincinnati (8-22; 4-14) vs. No. 1 UConn (29-1; 18-0)

The Bearcats knocked off UCF 76-66 in the first round on Friday night. Cincinnati lead by as many as 25 points in the first half. Freshman Makenzie Cann scored a career-high 23 points in the victory. The Bearcats tied a season-high with 10 three-pointers for the game. Next up is UConn. The Huskies won the two meetings this season by an average of 63 points.

6 p.m. – No. 7 Memphis (14-16; 7-11) vs. No. 2 USF (24-6; 15-3)

Memphis took care of business against SMU during the first round. The Tigers only trailed 2-0 before going on a 16-0 run enroute to a 71-59 victory. Ariel Hearn scored a game-high 25 points hitting 10 of her 12 shots. Next up is USF. The Bulls won both meetings this season (72-39 on Dec. 31 and 57-53 on Jan. 31).

8 p.m. – No. 6 Tulane (21-9; 11-7) vs. No. 3 Tulsa (17-12; 12-6)

The Green Wave beat Houston 64-39 on Friday night. The win gave Tulane coach Lisa Stockton her 500th victory. Courtnie Latham led a balanced attack with a career-high 14 points. Ten players scored for the Green Wave. Tonight they face Tulsa in the rubber match. The first meeting Tulane won 72-39, however, last weekend Tulsa won 55-52.

AAC Award Winners

On Friday afternoon, the American Athletic Conference announced their award winners. UConn took home the most hardware. Breanna Stewart was named the Player of the Year for the second straight year. Kia Nurse was the Freshman of the Year, while Kiah Stokes was the Defensive Player of the Year, Moriah Jefferson was the Most Improved Player, and Gabby Williams was the Co-Sixth Player of the Year. Geno Auriemma won Coach of the Year honors.

American Player of the Year

Breanna Stewart, F, Jr., UConn

American Freshman of the Year

Kia Nurse, G, Fr., UConn

American Coach of the Year

Geno Auriemma, UConn

American Defensive Player of the Year

Kiah Stokes, C, Sr., UConn

American Most Improved Player of the Year

Moriah Jefferson, G, Jr., UConn

American Sportsmanship Award

Tyonna Williams, G, Sr., Temple

American Sixth Player of the Year

  • Gabby Williams, G, Fr., UConn
  • Ashley Clark, G, Jr., Tulsa

American Newcomer of the Year

I'Tiana Taylor, F, Jr., East Carolina

All-Conference First Team

  • Breanna Stewart, F, Jr., UConn*
  • Courtney Williams, G, Jr., USF*
  • Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, F, Sr., UConn*
  • Moriah Jefferson, Jr., G, UConn*
  • Jada Payne, F, R-Jr., East Carolina
  • Morgan Tuck, F, R-So., UConn

All-Conference Second Team

  • Alisia Jenkins, F, Jr., USF
  • Ariel Hearn, G, Jr., Memphis
  • Ashley Clark, G, Jr., Tulsa
  • Zykira Lewis, G, So., UCF
  • I'Tiana Taylor, Jr., F, East Carolina
  • Kiah Stokes, Sr., C, UConn

All-Conference Third Team

  • Erica Covile, G, Jr., Temple
  • Alliya Butts, G, Fr., Temple
  • Danielle Blagg, G, Sr., Tulane
  • Kolby Morgan, G, Fr., Tulane
  • Kia Nurse, G, Fr., UConn

All-Freshman Team

  • Kia Nurse, G, UConn*
  • Alliya Butts, G, Temple*
  • Kolby Morgan, G, Tulane
  • Ana Owens, G, Cincinnati
  • Alicia Froling, F, SMU
  • Laura Ferreira, F, USF
  • Gabby Williams, G, UConn

[*] denotes unanimous pick