Monday, March 11, 2002

Peahens are puzzle to Pirtle


Opponent is mystery to UC coach

By Gary Estwick gestwick@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        About one hour after coach Laura Pirtle found out her No.6 seeded University of Cincinnati team will play No. 11 seed St. Peters in the NCAA Tournament, all she said she knew about the Peahens was their name.

        By the time the Bearcats leave for Columbia, S.C., later this week, though, Pirtle said UC will be ready.

        Here's some of what Pirtle should dig up:

        St. Peters' most recent NCAA berth came in 2000. The Peahens have won seven of their past eight games, and earned an automatic bid by winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament.

        St. Peters' RPI is 38; UC's RPI is 19.

        St. Peters' scores the ball in the post. Felicia Harris, a 5-foot-11 senior forward, is the top scoring threat. She is averages 16.4 points and 6.9 rebounds.

        Freshman center/forward Tyiana Sears (6-2) is averaging 11.7 points and 6.4 rebounds. Junior center Tanesha Seaton is third on the team in scoring with 11.1 points and a team-leading 9.1 rebounds a game.

        Inside scoring is St. Peters' strength, but not its only option. Sophomore guard Lindsay Gonzalez scored a team-high 19 points in the team's 83-71 win against Siena in the conference tournament championship. Harris had 18.

        “We have players that play a very important role, and know what their role is,” said St. Peters' coach Mike Granelli. “Harris is our big scorer. But after that, about eight people are capable of having big games.”

        The Peahens were 7-2 outside the conference, with the only losses coming by five points (72-67) at then-ranked Arizona State and by seven points (75-68) at home against Texas Tech. Both opponents are in the NCAA Tournament field. St. Peter's defeated Kent State 56-50, a No.14 seed.

        St. Peters' No.11 seed is its highest since the NCAA bracket was expanded. The 2002 tournament will mark the first time the team has not faced the site's highest-seeded team in the first round.

        As far as what the Peahens knew about UC Sunday night, the answer was the same as in Cincinnati.

        “We don't know anything,” Granelli said.

       



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