Earlier this season the young University of Cincinnati women's basketball team would have been most likely fallen after being pushed midway through the first half of Saturday afternoon's interstate rivalry game with Louisville. However, showing the resolve and "intestinal" fortitude that they have developed over the course of this now nearly completed season, the Bearcats remained on the prowl all game long, tearing apart the Cardinals 76-65.
Led emotionally and physically by the play of their dynamic freshman, Shelly Bellman and their not-so-dynamic senior point guard, Micah Harvey, the Bearcats "rallied" to their second consecutive conference and home victory. Bellman, who has acted older than her age on numerous occasions over the course of the season by taking control of the team when they looked flat, scored 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor. Harvey, who was indoctrinated as the team's floor and locker room general before the season, accumulated a new season-highs in both scoring (16) and assists (11). This was Harvey's first career double-double.
Harvey, who saw her role as leader take a purely vocal role after enduring the stress of an early-season injury that has hampered her ability to excel on the floor, has picked up her offensive pace recently, as she has scored in double figures in each of the past two contests (11 vs. Pitt). Harvey had only reached the 10-plus point total one other time this season, a 10-point showing in her season debut against Fordham.
In front of the most passionate collection of 712 people you would ever see, this back-and-forth thriller left no one disappointed. Fans (both for UC and the U of L), students, and former Bearcat players—including Valerie King who was honored at halftime for being UC's most latest All-American to line the top of Fifth Third Arena--saw UC move one step closer to securing a spot in the Big East Conference Tournament and most likely a trip to either the WNIT or NCAA Tournament.
Sitting a half game ahead of Notre Dame, who comes to UC next Saturday, the Bearcats currently reside in the coveted tenth position in the Big East standings. UC currently holds the final spot for the upcoming Big East Tournament, as only 10 of the 16 members of the newly revamped conference earn bids to the competition.
Cincinnati will return to the court Tuesday night, as Cincinnati looks to invade D.C as they take on Georgetown. If this surging group of Bearcatkittens, which is rapidly evolving into a pack of hungry ‘Cats, continues to play the way they have the past two games, with a passion and hunger that has led them to victory, it looks like only Dick Chaney and his hunting rifle are the only shot of putting them to rest.
You can listen to Coach Pirtle in this audio clip only on Bearcat Insider.