Nov. 22, 2003
IOWA CITY, IA - The University of Houston women's basketball team used a late surge Saturday night to take home the championship of the KCRG TV9 Hawkeye Challenge against the Iowa Hawkeyes with a 70-64 win.
Trailing by one point at 62-61with 1:20 to play in the ballgame, Houston senior Chandi Jones drained a three pointer from the right baseline to put the Lady Cougars up 64-62, a lead they would never give up. Houston sealed the ballgame with 36 seconds remaining when Jones broke free on an inbounds pass for a lay up with 36 seconds to play.
"I felt great right before I hit the shot," Jones said of the three-pointer. "I knew they were going to run a zone and we ran our zone motion. I knew in my mind that if I got open I'm going to put it up there, and it went in."
Jones finished with a game high 34 points and was named the most valuable player of the tournament after averaging 29.5 points in the two games. 10 of her points came from the free throw line where she shot 10-12 for the game.
Jones said it was great to get the win because of the way everybody on the team did their part to get it.
"It was a great comeback for us," she said. "We tried to hang in there while we were struggling and we turned the intensity up on defense and I made the baskets when we needed them. My teammates did a great job, not only did I step up, but all of my teammates did."
One of Jones' teammates to come up big was Sancho Lyttle who scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Lady Cougars. Her offensive play in the first half in which she scored 11 points and grabbed six boards kept Houston in the ballgame which was tied at 30 at the half.
Houston head coach Joe Curl said he knew his team could win the game before it started, and they proved him correct.
"I felt like we could win the game when they threw the ball up and I felt like we could win it when we were down eight and the kids believed that too, and that's what's most important," Curl said. "This is a big win for our program."