Wednesday, March 20, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 112



Lady Cougars are rolling

By Brad Sebastian
Daily Cougar Staff

There could be a Final Four game at Hofheinz Pavilion this season.

Brian Viney/The Daily Cougar

Senior Valerie Muoneke will lead the Lady Cougars into battle against Valparaiso in the third round of the Women's National Invitational

If the UH women's basketball team (24-7) wins its quarterfinal game on Wednesday night, it will advance to the semi-finals of the Women's
National Invitational Tournament.

Depending on what officials decide, that semi-final match-up could be played at Hofheinz.

The Lady Cougars' ride through the WNIT began with a thrilling 67-65 victory over cross-town rival Rice in UH's first ever post-season home

On Saturday night, the Cougars advanced to the quarterfinals by downing the Miami Hurricanes 83-76.

The Cougars' post-season success has largely been the result of outstanding performances from senior center Valerie Muoneke and
Conference USA Player of the Year sophomore Chandi Jones.

So far in the tournament, Muoneke's and Jones' combined statistics account for 37.5 points and 21 rebounds per game.

Jones is well aware of Muoneke's presence on the floor.

"My teammates (during the game against Rice) just came up to me and told me to do whatever I needed to do," Jones said. "They had my
back. Especially Val (Muoneke)." 

Freshman Shondra Bush and junior Angela Curl have made the extra effort as well.

Valparaiso (26-6) will play host to the Cougars on Wednesday at the Valparaiso Athletics-Recreation Center in Valparaiso, Ind.

The Crusaders are one of the hottest teams in the country. They advanced through the WNIT with road victories at Michigan and Ball State. 

Valparaiso's 26 wins are already a school record.

The Crusaders are led by senior Marlous Nieuwveen. The 6-5 center earned All Mid-Continent Conference honors this season by averaging
11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

All-Conference junior Jeanette Gray leads the Crusaders in scoring, averaging 13.1 points per game.

Freshman Katie Boone could give the Cougar defense some trouble. Boone earned the Mid-Continent Newcomer of the Year honor after
posting the league's best assist/turnover ratio at 2.0.

Crusader head coach Keith Freeman took home the Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year award. Freeman led his team to its first
conference title in school history.

The Cougars will enter Wednesday night's game with 24 wins just two shy of the school record of 26 set during the 1977-78 season. Their
current season winning percentage of .774 is the best in school history.

The winner of Wednesday's game will face the winner of the quarterfinal match-up between Vermont and Virginia Tech. The time and location
are to be determined.

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