Lady Cougars Handle Northwestern to Claim Roger L. White Tournament Title
Dec. 29, 2001
The University of Houston Lady Cougars came out slow from tip-off and shot just 26 percent from the field in the first half to enter half-time down, 29-22, but they came out strong in the second half to put together a 10-3 run and shot nearly 70 percent as they defeated the host Northwestern Wildcats by a final of 67-58 to claim the Roger L. White Invitational tournament title on Saturday (Dec. 1) night in Evanston, Illinois.
Sophomore Chandi Jones, who scored the 500th point of her young collegiate career the previous night in Houston's win over LaSalle to advance to the championship game, once again sparked the Lady Cougars with 14 second-half points. Senior Valerie Muoneke scored six consecutive points--including a two-pointer to tie the game at 38-38 with 12:30 left in the game--and gave Houston a 40-38 lead with just over 12 minutes to play.
The game continued to go back and forth until Houston broke it open in the closing five minutes. Junior college transfer Nakia Holmes stripped the ball from Northwestern three times in the second half and hit two crucial field goals down the stretch. Freshman Shondra Bush, who finished the night with 13 total points, put together some impressive plays to build upon the Lady Cougars' lead.
Jones closed out the night with a game-high 20 points, her third straight game with 20-or-more points, and added a game-high four assists and four steals. Muoneke joined both Jones and Bush with 12 total points.
Sophomore Nicole Oliver, Houston's leading defensive threat, lead the team with eight boards.
Jones, who lead all four of the participating teams in the Roger L. White Invitational with a combined 44 points and 19 rebounds, was named to the All-Tournament Team as well as the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Muoneke, who scored a combined 27 points in both of Houston's games, was also named to the All-Tournament Team.
With the win, the Lady Cougars improve to 5-1 overall on the season, their best start through the first six games of the season since opening the 1991-92 campaign with a perfect 5-0 record.
Houston returns home to host Prairie View A&M in their next game on Wednesday, December 5, at Hofheinz Pavilion. Tip-of is scheduled for 7:00p.m.