Thursday, February 28, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 103


 
 









 

Lady Cougars prep for C-USA tourney

By Brad Sebastian
Daily Cougar Staff

The UH women's basketball team (21-6, 11-3 in Conference USA) heads to Chicago this weekend to compete in the C-USA
tournament.


Brian Viney/The Daily Cougar

Freshman guard Shondra Bush dishes the ball off to a teammate under the basket. Bush scored a career-high 21 points against
DePaul in the Cougars' most recent game.


The Lady Cougars are seeded second in the tournament and will receive a first-round bye. Their first game will be against the winner
of the first-round match-up between Memphis and Charlotte.

If everything coming together at the right time is the prescription for success in the post-season, the Cougars have to like their chances
in Chicago.

Winners of seven consecutive games and 12 of their last 13, the Lady Cougars are hitting stride at just the right time.

Sophomore All-American candidate Chandi Jones continues to dominate, and is arguably the conference's most valuable player
heading into the tournament. Jones recently passed the 1,000-point mark in just her second year of college ball.

If there were any questions about key reserve Shondra Bush returning from her finger injury, they were answered in Sunday's game
against DePaul. Bush showed no lingering effects as she scored a career-high 21 points.

Bush will be a huge key for UH. Bush has been a scoring punch off the bench for the Lady Cougars and may even see starting time
given her performance against the Blue Demons.

Senior post player Valerie Muoneke is playing at the top of her game as well. She pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds on Sunday,
the second most in school history.

All signs are pointing in the right direction and head coach Joe Curl has high aspirations for his team.

"Our goal is to win a championship," Curl said. "There are five or six teams capable of winning it, and I think we're one of them."

Texas Christian won the regular season conference title to earn the top seed in the tournament.

No. 25 TCU is 22-5 overall, 12-2 in conference. UH lost both regular season meetings with the Lady Frogs.

Cincinnati (23-4, 11-3 C-USA) brings a very talented team to Chicago. The No. 23 Bearcats are considered one of the favorites to win
the tournament.

The lady Cougars beat the Bearcats in overtime in the teams' only regular-season meeting, 89-78, at Hofheinz Pavilion.

The tournament sleeper could be Tulane. Tulane is 20-9 overall and 8-6 in conference. Winners of four games in a row and five of its
last six, the Green Wave could be a dangerous draw for any unsuspecting team.

Against the top five teams in the field, the Cougars have a combined 3-2 record. Both losses came against the Lady Frogs.

The winner of the tournament earns an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament field of 32 teams. The Lady Cougars may have a
strong enough regular-season record to earn an at-large berth, but Curl said he would rather not leave his team's future to chance.

"We want to earn (a berth)," Curl said. "We're in it to win it. We don't want anyone to give us anything."
 
 
 
 
 

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