Sunday, March 9, 2003

Women: Cincinnati 81, DePaul 64

The Cincinnati Enquirer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - K.B. Sharp set a Conference USA Tournament record for shooting percentage en route to 26 points in Cincinnati's 81-64 semifinal win over DePaul.

UC plays Texas Christian for the C-USA championship at 2 p.m. today (ESPN2). It is the fourth trip to the title game in the last five years for the Bearcats, who won their only championship last year.

Sharp made eight of nine shots from the field (88.9 percent), including all three 3-point attempts, and was 7-of-7 on free throws.

"I don't know how (Sharp) would affect any other team," coach Laurie Pirtle said, "but I know she impacts our team the greatest. Her endless effort and leadership are special for us. She makes everyone else better and she makes us better."

It was Sharp's 124th career game, tying Sue Koch for the most games played by a Bearcat.

The Bearcats shot 54.9 percent from the field and were 20-of-23 from the foul line.

Debbie Merrill added 18 points and six rebounds, and Brittani Young and Valerie King each had 12 points for UC. Jenni Dant led DePaul with 20 points. Khara Smith added 14 and a game-high seven rebounds.

After the Blue Demons hit a 3-pointer in the opening minute, UC held them to just one more basket over the next six minutes, running out to a 15-5 lead. King scored the final five points of the run.

King's second triple put the Bearcats in front 27-14 with 7:59 to go in the half. The Blue Demons responded with a 12-2 run, led by eight Dant points, to close within three with 4:35 remaining.

Just as they did in the quarterfinals, the Bearcats closed the half on a run, this time outscoring DePaul 9-2 to take a 43-32 lead into the break. DeAnna Stevenson had six of her eight points during this run, including a putback at the buzzer.

UC gradually extended the lead in the second half, shooting 56.5 percent from the field and outrebounding DePaul 16-10. The Blue Demons never got closer than 12 in the final 18 minutes.

Sharp made all five of her field goal attempts in the second half and had a game-high five assists.

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Women: Cincinnati 81, DePaul 64

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vs. South Florida (3-4)
• 1:00 p.m. Sat. Nov. 20
• Nippert Stadium
• Radio: WLW-AM 700


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