Monday, March 12, 2001
UC women get consolation prize
Bearcats play Ohio State in NIT opener
By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Laurie Pirtle will return to her roots for the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
The University of Cincinnati coach will lead her team into a first-round game at Ohio State, her alma mater, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Value City Arena.
Tickets are $11 adults, $6 children/students and available by calling 1-800-GO-BUCKS.
I haven't had time for it to set in yet, Pirtle said Sunday night, minutes after learning her team's fate. I'm not unhappy. I'm glad we play them. I think it's a good thing. I graduated from there. We've got several kids from Columbus; that's a good thing. It's a quality name (opponent); that's agood thing. I think (the players) will be excited.
UC had even talked about the possibility before the NIT draw was announced. Junior Mindy Hammond and sophomore K.B. Sharp are from Columbus; junior Laura Wilder and freshman Brittani Young are from Pickerington.
Pirtle, one of Ohio State's top-10 all-time assist leaders, earned a bachelor's degree from OSU in 1980 and a master's in sports management in '86.
The Bearcats (22-9) will be making their sixth postseason appearance in the history of the program and their fourth in a row. This is the second straight and fourth overall bid to the women's NIT.
Cincinnati and OSU have not played since Dec. 16, 1994 (the Buckeyes won 82-50). Pirtle is 1-2 against Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are 17-11 (9-5 at home) and lost to Purdue in the Big Ten Conference tournament quarterfinals.
UC has won eight of its past 10 games.
The team had dim hopes of getting an NCAA Tournament bid Sunday but still gathered to watch the draw on television Sunday.
only teams from Conference USA to earn bids to the NCAA were regular-season champion Louisville and tournament champion Tulane, which beat the Bearcats in the tourney final.
Five C-USA teams made it to the NIT: UC, Memphis, UAB, Houston and DePaul.
It was quiet (in the room), Pirtle said. (But) I think we were pretty realistic. We thought there was a slim chance. We were pretty much ready to see our name not get on the (NCAA) bracket.
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