SETTING THE SCENE: The University of Cincinnati hopes history does not repeat itself. The Bearcats advanced to the BIG EAST Championship for the second consecutive season, advancing in its first two seasons in the elite conference. The No. 11-seeded Bearcats will face No. 6 Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 3 at the Civic Center in Hartford, Conn. for an 8 p.m. tipoff. Last year UC, in its inaugural BIG EAST Championship, was the No. 11 seed and fell, 77-62, to (you guessed it) No. 6 Pitt in the opening round which was also an 8 p.m. tipoff.
w The Bearcats are 6-10 in the BIG EAST this season and earned the No. 11 seed. They were picked to finish 12th in the preseason coaches' poll. The Bearcats finished 7-9 last season, also earning the No. 11 seed in the BIG EAST Championship.
w Since their last meeting both teams have gone 2-2. Cincinnati lost to St. John's (72-66), bounced back with a win over Villanova (60-50), lost at West Virginia (61-49) and closed out the season with a victory against Syracuse at home (59-54). The Panthers lost their next two games, 82-68, against No. 3 UConn and 57-46 vs. West Virginia. Pitt bounced back with victories over DePaul (87-80) and Georgetown (68-58).
w The Bearcats are 1-1 this season in games played at a neutral site. They lost to Northern Illinois in the first round of the Mildred and Roger L. White Invitational at Northwestern on Dec. 1, but bounced back with a victory over Princeton on Dec. 2.
w The Bearcats are 0-2 when playing at the Civic Center, falling, 92-71, to UConn last year during the regular season, and in the conference tournament game against Pitt.
w This will be the third time the Bearcats and Panthers have met in the postseason. In addition to the BIG EAST Championship first-round battle last year, UC and Pitt played against each other in the first round of the WNIT in 2000. UC prevailed, 76-60.
w The Bearcats are third in the BIG EAST and 12th in the country in rebounding margin, a school record +9.0, while the Panthers have a +3.0 margin. In the last meeting, UC outrebounded Pitt just 30-27.
w UC is 41-36 all-time in conference tournaments spanning the BIG EAST, Conference USA, Great Midwest, Metro Conference, and OAISW. UC Head Coach Laurie Pirtle is 19-19 all-time in postseason conference tournament play.
NOTES FROM THE SYRACUSE GAME:
w Karen Twehues also closed out her career at Fifth Third Arena on a high note, pouring in a game-high 14 points, the third consecutive game she has led the Bearcats in scoring.
w Treasure Humphries had a career-high 12 rebounds, beating her mark of 11 set vs. Villanova in UC's last home game (2/20/07). She also scored her 1,000th career point with 2:28 remaining in the second half. She became the 21st UC women's basketball player to accomplish the feat.
w UC had just seven turnovers, a season-low.
w The Bearcats won for only the second time this season when trailing at the half (2-11) and for the first time when they score less than 60 points (1-6).
w Angel Morgan had six rebounds, extending her streak to 33 games with at least one rebound. She was held without an assist, ending her 29-game streak with at least one assist.
CINCINNATI PLAYERS HONORED:
w Carla Jacobs earned UC's first BIG EAST Weekly honor this season, when she was named Freshman of the Week on Jan. 29. Jacobs, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, had a career week as she averaged 16.0 points, 6.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds, while shooting 6-of-6 from the foul line. The guard tied her career high with 15 points and dished out a career-high 10 assists in the team's 80-62 win over Georgetown (1/23/07), nabbing her first career double-double. She bettered her offensive production with a new career-high 17 points in UC's loss to No. 18/17 Marquette (1/27/07). Jacobs shot 6-of-15 from the field, including a 3-of-6 effort from 3-point range.
w Nine of UC's players earned academic honors for the fall quarter. Jill Stephens was named the department of athletics top female scholar-athlete of the fall quarter after earning a 4.0 grade point average, plus was named to the Topcat Honor Roll. Shelly Bellman and Karen Twehues were also Topcats (3.5-4.0 GPA). Kristi Brogan, Treasure Humphries, Carla Jacobs, Michelle Jones, Emy Ogide and Stephanie Stevens were all named to the Bearcat Honor Roll (3.00-3.49 GPA).
w Treasure Humphries is UC's leading scorer (11.7), Shelly Bellman is the Bearcats' leading rebounder (6.5) and Carla Jacobs is the assists leader (4.19). Both Bellman and Humphries have been named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll this season and Jacobs was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week.
SCORING DROUGHT ENDED
w After scoring in the first 48 games of her college career, Shelly Bellman was held scoreless vs. No. 17/18 Marquette (1/27/07) and No. 5/6 UConn (1/30/07). Bellman broke the slump with five points vs. No. 25/23 Rutgers (2/3/07) and led UC in scoring vs. St. John's (2/17/07) with 16 points.
w Junior Emy Ogide is averaging 6.3 points a game this season, almost tripling her career average coming into the season of 2.2 points. Ogide has led UC in scoring in four games. She had a team-best 12 points vs. Pitt (2/13/07). She put up 14 points vs. No. 25/23 Rutgers (2/3/07) and the game before, scored a team-high 12 points, on 5-of-6 six shooting from the field vs. No. 5/6 UConn (1/30/07). She had a career game in UC's 65-60 win over Dayton (11/16/06). The 6-2 junior forward came off the bench to score a game- and career-high 18 points, doubling her previous best of nine points set last year against Georgetown on Feb. 21, 2006.
BEARCATS ATTACK THE BOARDS:
w The Bearcats have won the battle of the boards in 24 of their 28 games this season. Only Georgetown and Top 25-ranked teams Rutgers (2/3/07), Louisville (12/14/06) and Arkansas (12/28/06) have beaten UC in that category. Cincinnati owns a +9.0 rebounding margin this season, third in the BIG EAST and 12th in the country. The UC single-season record is a +6.7 margin.
w The sophomore trio of Shelly Bellman, Michelle Jones and Angel Morgan, and senior Treasure Humphries are wrecking balls on the boards for UC. Bellman leads the team with 6.5, Jones adds 5.9, Humphries (at 5-foot-8-inches) contributes 5.4 and Morgan adds 5.2. Jones has 317 career rebounds and more than half have been offensive (164). Of her 164 rebounds this season, 87 have been offensive. She averages 3.11 per game, seventh in the BIG EAST. Bellman has 355 career rebounds and 263 have been defensive. She has 124 defensive rebounds of her 175 total this season. Bellman matched a career high with 14 boards vs. Villanova, 12 were defensive. Morgan has 145 rebounds this season and 112 have been defensive. Morgan has nearly tripled her rebounding production from her freshman year when she had just 51. She has 196 in her career, with 141 of those being defensive. Humphries had a career-high 12 rebounds vs. Syracuse (2/26/07) and has 151 this season, more than her sophomore and junior seasons combined (139).
"A" FOR ACCURACY:
w Sophomore Michelle Jones is shooting a team-high 51 percent from the field, 11th in the BIG EAST. She has converted 121 of 237 attempts. She had career highs of 10 field goals made (10-of-13) and 24 points against Tennessee Tech (12/21/06). She was also a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Emy Ogide is not far behind Jones. The junior is shooting 48 percent (73 of 151) and had a five-of-five performance vs. Pitt (2/13/07).
SPREADING THE WEALTH:
w Cincinnati is seventh in the BIG EAST in scoring (68.2), but the Bearcats don't have a player who averages more than 15.0 points. Three players average double figures: Treasure Humphries (11.7), Michelle Jones (11.0) and Shelly Bellman (10.5).
w UC has held 15 of its 28 opponents to 65 points or less and held No. 24 DePaul (1/14/07) to 44 points, a season low. When the Bearcats are held to 60 points or less they are 1-6. UC won for the first time when scoring less than 60 with a 59-54 win over Syracuse (2/26/07).
w Senior Karen Twehues is third all-time at UC in career 3-point field goals made with184. She leads the Bearcats in 3-point field goal percentage at 37 percent, fourth in the BIG EAST.
STEALS AND DEALS:
w Senior Treasure Humphries and freshman Carla Jacobs are the masters of creating shots for their teammates, helping UC to 15.68 assists a game, fourth in the BIG EAST. The duo are also creating havoc on the defensive end, going one-two in steals.
w Humphries, who led the team in steals both her freshman and junior seasons, is pacing the team in thefts with 63 and is fifth in the BIG EAST with 2.26 a game. She has had multiple steals in 23 of 28 games this season. She tied a career-high with seven take aways vs. No. 23 Arkansas (12/28/06). She has had at least one steal in 86 of her 102 career games. Jacobs is second on the team in steals with 42.
w Jacobs is UC's assist leader with 113 in 27 games, a 4.19 average that ranks sixth in the BIG EAST. She had a career-high 10 assists against Georgetown (1/23/07). She knows how to take care of the ball too. She is third in the conference in assist/turnover ratio (1.95) and the top freshman in that category. Treasure Humphries is second on the team in assists (108). She has had three or more assists in 20 of the Bearcats' 28 games. She is 10th in the BIG EAST with 3.9 per game.
w Treasure Humphries had UC's most recent double-double. She tallied 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds vs. Syracuse (2/26/07) on senior night at Fifth Third Arena. The senior notched her second career double-double and her first by points/rebounds. Her other double-double came last season when she had 10 points and a career-high 14 assists vs. Georgetown (1/25/06).
w Carla Jacobs got UC's 12th double-double of the 2006-07 season with a career performance against Georgetown (1/23/07). She had15 points and set a new career high with 10 assists.
w Karen Twehues and Michelle Jones both registered double-doubles vs. Xavier (1/17/07). Jones, accomplishing the feat for the second time in as many games, had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Twehues, notching the third of this season and in her career, had 12 points and 10 rebounds. The last time two Bearcat players had a twin double in the same game was Dec. 21, 2004 vs. Loyola Marymount when Anne Stephens scored 11 points and grabbed 11 boards, and Toni Slaughter had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
w Karen Twehues scored her first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds against Alabama A&M (12/18/06). She blocked two shots, a career high. She added her second career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against USF (1/6/07).
w Michelle Jones recorded a double-double in the season-opener against Youngstown State (11/10/06). She scored 11 points and nabbed 10 rebounds for her second career double-double. Jones tacked on her second double-double of the season with a game-high 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds vs. No. 24 DePaul (1/14/07).
w Shelly Bellman has six career double-doubles, including five this season, most recently vs. Seton Hall (1/20/07) when she had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Against Notre Dame (1/10/07) she had 13 points, 10 rebounds and added seven assists. She had 14 points and 11 rebounds against St. Francis (11/22/06); 13 points and 13 rebounds against Murray State (11/28/06); and 17 points and 11 rebounds against Tennessee Tech (12/21/06). She also had seven assists, on the verge of getting UC's first triple-double since Jane Anne Preston in 1992.
DOUBLE OR NOTHING:
w Michelle Jones has scored in double figures in a team-high 19 games this season and 36 in her career. Karen Twehues has scored in double figures 18 times this season, including four of UC's last five games. Shelly Bellman has scored in double figures in all but 10 games she has played this season and in 31 of 56 career contests.
w The Bearcats have had at least three players score in double figures in every game except for seven this season (only two vs. Villanova on 2/20/07, vs. USF on 1/6/07, vs. Marquette on 1/27/07 and vs. St. John's on 2/17/07 and only one vs. WVU on 2/24/07, vs. Rutgers on 2/3/07 and Pitt on 2/13/07). The Bearcats have had five players score in double figures in five games this season; Cincinnati's 83-51 win over St. Francis (Pa.) (11/22/06), UC's 86-70 win over Tennessee Tech (12/21/06), a 94-82 loss to No. 23 Arkansas, UC's BIG EAST home opening win over Georgetown, 77-55 (1/3/07), and the Bearcats' 74-61 win over Providence (2/6/07).
GETTING FLOOR TIME:
w Freshman Carla Jacobs leads UC in minutes played at 30.5 per game. Jacobs played a career-high 39 minutes vs. Providence (2/6/07). Angel Morgan played a season-high 40 minutes, the only Bearcat to play an entire game this season, and scored a career-high 18 points, vaulting UC to a 74-57 win over Murray State (11/28/06). The win gave head coach Laurie Pirtle her 300th at Cincinnati.
w UC broke a team record for 3-point field goals in a game in an 89-65 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 14. UC finished with 13 treys, including 10 in the first half. The Bearcats bested the old mark of 12 set vs. Houston on March 5, 2004. The Bearcats extended their home-opener winning streak to 11 with an 89-65 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff (11/14/06).
NORTHWESTERN TOURNEY HONORS:
w Shelly Bellman averaged 19.5 points and 5.5 rebounds and was named to the all-tournament team of the Mildred and Roger L. White Invitational (12/1-2/06), hosted by Northwestern.
DAGOSTINO DEPARTS UC STAFF:
w First-year assistant coach Dave Dagostino has left the UC coaching staff, citing personal reasons. The resignation was effective on January 26. Prior to joining the UC staff last spring, Dagostino had been the head coach at Jacksonville State University, where he also resigned from his post following a six-year tenure at the Alabama school, including three as the Gamecock's head coach.
w The Bearcats had their earliest season opener in school history, playing at Youngstown State on Nov. 10. With the start against YSU, Carla Jacobs became one of nine true freshmen Division I point guards in the nation who started in their teams' women's basketball season openers.
w With a win over Pittsburgh the Bearcats would advance to the Quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship to play the No. 3 seed Marquette (who had a first-round bye) at 8 p.m. on Sunday at the Civic Center in Hartford, Conn.