Dec. 6, 2002
Raleigh, N.C. - Despite ice storms and city-wide power outages, the University of Houston women's basketball team defeated Florida 71-60 Friday night in the first day of the 2002 GlaxoSmithKline Invitational at Reynolds Coliseum. All-American guard Chandi Jones led the offensive charge with 31 points as the Lady Cougars gave head coach Joe Curl his 200th career win.
Jones, the 2002 Conference USA Player of the Year, led all scorers with 31 points, six rebounds and two steals. Shondra Bush racked up her second consecutive career double-double, adding 13 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and six steals. KiKi Harris also added 11 points, four rebounds and blocked four shots on the night.
Florida (5-2, 0-0 SEC) was led by freshman guard Sarah Lowe who bucketed a career-high 25 points and eight rebounds. Bernice Mosby fell just short of a double-double, scoring 19 points and pulling down nine boards while Daila Eshe had a game-high 11 rebounds for the Gators.
Both teams were slow from the start as Jones tied the game at 10 on a jumper at the 7:15 mark. She tied it again at 20 on a pair of free throws with 2:00 remaining in the half. Houston shot just 19.4 percent from the floor but tallied 13 steals in the first half. Florida outrebounded the Lady Cougars 32-17 and led at the half 24-21.
Florida opened the second half with a 5-0 run until Angela Curl hit a trey to spark a 14-2 Houston run and lead. Houston picked up its offensive rebounding and established a six-point advantage with 8:00 to go and kept the lead for the remainder of the game. The Lady Cougars' scored 50 points in the second half and led by as many as 11, winning their first-ever game against Florida 71-60.
The Gators, who are now 44-18 all-time against C-USA opponents, were picked to finish eighth in Southeastern Conference standings this year. The victory over Florida marks Houston's fourth straight and Curl's 200th career win as a head coach. Houston is 1-1 this season against SEC opponents, losing to No. 19 Mississippi State at home Nov. 27.
The Houston squad arrived in Raleigh Thursday afternoon after the city had been hit with devastating freezing rain that left much of the area without power. The Lady Cougars and travel staff did not practice Thursday and spent the night in a hotel with no power and heat.
The Lady Cougars (5-2, 0-0 C-USA) will meet Washington, who defeated host NC State 88-78 earlier Friday, in the championship match of the GlaxoSmithKline Invitational Saturday at 6 p.m. CST at Reynolds Coliseum.