Sunday, March 25, 2001

Waugh provides spark off bench


Sophomore guides offense, scores 14

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[img]
Amy Waugh (3) celebrates with Jennifer Parr near the end of the game.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
        BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Amy Waugh's first two field goal attempts in Xavier's Mideast Regional victory Saturday were blocked. But Xavier's 5-foot-6 sophomore guard, a sure-fire coach after her playing days, made an adjustment and sparked the Musketeers in their 80-65 win over perennial power Tennessee.

        Waugh made four of her last five shots, including a 3-pointer, and five of seven free throws to end with 14 points. She also had five assists and three rebounds.

        “I knew they were going to be running at me, so I had to shot-fake and either take it to the hole or look for the open player when somebody else came and picked me up,” Waugh said.

        She was the Atlantic 10 Conference rookie of the year as a freshman when she started all 31 games and averaged 10.8 points a game. But Waugh ruptured her Achilles' tendon Oct.9 during a preseason workout.

        Three days after surgery and using crutches, she sat in a chair and started shoot ing baskets during practice.

        She returned Feb.1, has averaged 20 minutes and 7.1 points a game and has regained her role as the most outwardly emotional Xavier player on the floor.

        “It was never if I was coming back, but when,” Waugh said. “I just wanted to be a part of this team and play with this senior class.”

        Saturday, Waugh's first field goal pulled XU even at 30, and her second basket, a 3-pointer, gave the Muske teers a lead they would take into halftime.

        After Xavier took a 60-58 lead, Waugh was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws.

        Waugh played 27 minutes, many in relief of senior Jennifer Parr, who played 12.

        Waugh ran the offense, and the point guard's composure against Tennessee's presses and trap defenses helped limit XU to nine turnovers. Waugh had only two.

        The Musketeers had a season-high 32 turnovers in their previous victory against Clemson.

        “I love having Amy Waugh coming off the bench,” Xavier coach Melanie Balcomb said. “She's so smart. She's like a coach on the floor. And she used the time off very wisely and became a coach.”

        Balcomb doesn't have a playbook. When Waugh was sidelined, she drew up a book with 90 plays. She's one of the players Balcomb refers to as a “gym rat.”

        In the Musketeers' media guide, Waugh said her favorite place on campus is “gym.” A former all-star player at Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., Waugh said her favorite movie is Hoosiers.

        She will face a former Homestead teammate, Purdue senior forward Candi Crawford, in the Elite Eight game Monday night.

        “This is my best moment in basketball so far,” Waugh said of the Tennessee game.

NCAA Tournament coverage at Cincinnati.com



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