Friday, March 12, 1999

Taller Ducks don't intimidate Lady Bearcats




BY ADAM THOMPSON
Enquirer contributor

        AMES, Iowa — No size? No problem. That was the attitude of Cincinnati's women basketball players Thursday when asked about the imposing front line of their first NCAA Tournament opponent in 10 years, No. 5-seeded Oregon.

UC (12) vs. OREGON (5)
  • When: 7 p.m. today
  • Where: Ames, Iowa
  • Records: UC 22-8; Oregon 24-5
        Amber Stocks, Doris Scott and Tanya Kirk, all 6-1 or shorter, know the 12th-seeded Bearcats will be looking up at the Ducks' 6-3 Angelina Wolvert and 6-5 Jenny Mowe. But that doesn't mean UC is intimidated.

        “We're very quick, so we're a little bit harder to box out,” said coach Laurie Pirtle. “No matter what your size is, it's how big your heart is.”

        Added Stocks, “Not to be funny, but I don't really see ourselves as underdogs...

        “You're put in the tournament bracket and there's a little number before the name of your school. When the jump ball goes up, the other team's not worried about the little number before your team's name and you're not worried about the little number before your team's name.”

        Pirtle compared Oregon to one of her team's Conference USA co-champions, Marquette. Coincidentally, UC beat the Golden Eagles three times this season, including in the league tournament semifinals two weeks ago.

        The Bearcats have often been the shorter of two teams on the court, but that hasn't stopped them from earning an rebounding margin of plus-3.7 per game. In that last Marquette game, they dominated the boards, 43-34.

        On paper, rebounding is the one major statistical advantage UC has over Oregon, which pulled down just 1.3 more boards per game than its opponents. Even though the Ducks have scored more points (71.3 ppg to UC's 68.5), allowed fewer points (58.4 to 60.3) and shot three-pointers more accurately (.331 to .298), the Ducks are taking nothing for granted.

        “Me being a shorter player in the post, I think with their quickness they can match up with us,” said 6-1 forward Brianne Meharry, who is tied with Wolvert for the team lead with 10 points per game. “I think it's going to be real tough inside both ways, for us with their quickness and for them with our height.”

        While no Duck scores a lot, many score. Pac-10 freshman of the year Shaquala Williams (9.8 ppg), Natasha O'Brien (9.1), Lisa Bowyer (8.6) and Mowe (7.3) all have led the team in scoring this season.

MARCH MADNESS PAGE



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