Thursday, March 28, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 118


Cougars lose to Ducks in WNIT final, 54-52

By Christian Schmidt
Daily Cougar Staff

The Lady Cougars fell to the University of Oregon 54-52 Wednesday night, losing in the finals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
The loss ended an outstanding season for the Houston women's basketball team, which finishes 26-8 on the year.

The Lady Cougars led for most of the game, trailing only four times. One of those came when Oregon sophomore Cathrine Kraayeveld hit a
lay-up with two seconds remaining. Houston could not score in the time left.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

Freshman Kiki Harris, shown during an earlier game, and the Lady Cougar basketball team finished a spectacular season Wednesday but
fell to Oregon in the finals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.

The Lady Cougars jumped out to an early 8-2 lead in the contest and trailed only once in the first half. A late Oregon run made the halftime
score 27-27.

Houston came out firing in the second, using a 12-4 run to jump out to a 39-31 lead with 13:58 remaining in the game.

The game seesawed back and forth with the Lady Cougars maintaining a lead. With 4:21 to go, a Kraayeveld lay-up brought Oregon within
one at 46-45.

Minutes later, four straight Oregon free-throws brought the Ducks to within one again at 49-48.

A three-point basket by Oregon senior Jamie Craighead gave the Ducks a lead at 51-50 with just 1:19 remaining.

With 37.7 seconds to go, Houston senior Valerie Muoneke banked home a shot to tie the game at 52. A missed Oregon three-point attempt
was touched up by junior Angela Curl, but teammate Nicole Oliver could not corral the rebound as it went out of bounds. On the ensuing
possession, Oregon scored the winning basket.

Kraayeveld led Oregon with 15 points and 13 rebounds and was named WNIT Most Valuable Player.

Sophomore Chandi Jones led Houston with 16 points on 6-of-19 shooting, and added eight rebounds and three assists. Jones was named
to the All-Tournament team.

Curl got 12 rebounds, seven points, and two assists.

Muoneke, playing in her final college game, scored 12 points, got six rebounds and two blocks.

The Lady Cougars had six players who were in the game for 23 or more minutes, using their bench sparingly except for freshman Shondra
Bush. Bush provided five points, four rebounds and four assists.

The Ducks struggled with three-point shooting the entire game, making just 5 of 28. Houston also had a hard time behind the arc, hitting just
2 of 12.

The crowd of 6,835 was the largest the Lady Cougars have played in front of this year. The game was televised in Houston on KNWS,
Channel 51.

This is by far the best season statistically in the program's history. The team set a new record for winning percentage at .764. The team also
tied the 1977-78 squad's mark of 26 wins in a season.

The Lady Cougars had never before advanced past the first round of either the NCAA or WNIT tournaments.

This great run should give the team plenty of momentum going into next year. The squad loses only one starter, Muoneke, and the recruiting
class coming in this fall is expected to be good.

A welcome-back party will be held for the Lady Cougars at 5:15 p.m. today in the Great Hall of the Athletic/Alumni Facility.

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