With a 59-54 victory over Syracuse the Bearcats earn a berth in the Big East field as the tournament draws near.
CINCINNATI – It couldn't have been scripted any better. The
University of Cincinnati secured its No. 11 seed in the BIG EAST
Championship with a 59-54 win over Syracuse on Monday night – senior night – at
Fifth Third Arena. And it was UC's seniors that stepped up and enjoyed a magical
Senior Karen Twehues scored a team-high 14 points, all in the first half, and UC's other
senior, Treasure Humphries, took over in the second half with 11 points, giving
her 1,001 in her career. She also posted a career-high 12 rebounds for her
second career double-double and also dished out six assists for the Bearcats
(15-13, 6-10 BIG EAST).
this game was good," said UC coach Laurie Pirtle. We came back. We executed and
the team really came together.
remember my last game as a senior and winning," she added. "It's something you
never forget. I'm so happy for these girls and the memory of this night that
they will always have."
the nets in the first half, the Orange (9-20, 3-13 BIG EAST) cooled down to
shoot just 35 percent, including 29 percent from 3-point range. After being down
by as many as 11 in the first period and down eight at the half, the Bearcats
barreled back with a 7-0 run to start the second stanza and pulled ahead, 29-28,
with 17:22 to play in the game on a Michelle Jones jumper. That's where it got
interesting. There were four ties and 13 lead changes in eight minutes of
action. UC finally took the lead for good when Jones banked in another jumper at
the 9:14 mark of the second period.
Humphries gave UC
its largest lead of the game – seven, 52-45 – with 2:27 left in the game. It
also marked the moment she scored her 1,000th career point. The
to pull with three, 57-54 with 20 seconds to play, but freshman Carla Jacobs
(5-of-6) and Humphries (1-of-2) combined for six free throws in the final 53
seconds to help put the game away.
"Any given game
any player can step up," said Humphries. "KT (Karen Twehues) got it done for us
in the first half. Michelle Jones got us going in the second. Carla (Jacobs) hit
clutch free throws in the end.
"It means a lot
to me," said Humphries of scoring 1,000 points. "But it means more to me that I
could celebrate with my teammates. I couldn't have done it without my
The Orange, who needed a win
to advance to the BIG EAST Championship, held a 28-22 lead after the first half.
The Bearcats got a cold start, missing their first seven baskets and not scoring
until Twehues knocked down a triple with 17:04 left in the first period. The
senior scored 14 of UC's 22 points in the first stanza. With 3:14 to play
shooting just 23 percent from the field, making just seven of 30 attempts. While
UC was struggling from short range, Syracuse found its touch from 3-point range,
making 67 percent (6-of-9) of its shots from behind the arc. Mary Joe Riley
(3-for-3) and Nicole Michael (2-for-2) led the charge. Michael led the Orange with 12 points
after 20 minutes of action. She finished with a game-high 31 points. SU went on
a 7-0 run and went up 24-13 with 4:48 to play.
"Syracuse had to win," said
Pirtle. "We weren't playing for as much as they were but we really wanted to
maintain the 11 seed. We clearly got in and put ourselves in a better
The Bearcats, the No. 11 seed,
will play the No. 6 seed in the BIG EAST Championship on Saturday, March 3 at
the Civic Center in Hartford, Conn. Tip off will be 8 p.m. in the final game
of the first round.
"We're a much better team this
year," said Pirtle. "But everyone is improving. This is just a dynamite
Treasure Humphries had a
career-high 12 rebounds, beating her mark 11 set vs. Villanova in UC's last home
game (2/20/07). She also scored her 1,000 career point coming at the 2:28 point
of the second half. She becomes the 21 UC women's basketball player to
accomplish the feat.
UC had just seven turnovers, a
The Bearcats won for only the
second time this season when trailing at the half (2-11).
The Bearcats will play Pitt in the first round at 8:00 pm. Below is a pdf file of the Women's bracket as released by the Big East Conference.