Women's Basketball Sneaks by Memphis in Tournament Play

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    MILWAUKEE (AP) - A lot can happen in four-tenths of a second on a basketball court.

    In Houston's 80-74 victory over Memphis in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament, five points were scored in that amount of time.

    Memphis' Malissa Bush, left, and Houston's Norma Nole fight for the ball in the first half during the quarterfinals of the women's Conference USA tournament Saturday, March 3, 2001, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)
    Although the game Saturday night had an exciting finish, much of the drama was focused on the final second of the first half.

    Memphis trailed 33-30 when Tiffany Adkins was fouled with four-tenths of a second remaining. She made her two free throws to cut Houston's lead to 33-32.

    The Tigers would have been content to go to the locker room down by a point, but instead, Houston's Monet Sykes rifled a pass to Cathy Lida, who caught, whirled and shot, beating the buzzer and banking in the 30-footer for a 36-32 lead.

    "Coach (Joe Curl) just told me to get the ball and shoot," said Lida, a senior from France. "I saw it coming to me and I just put it up."

    "That was huge, a big momentum play," Memphis coach Joye Lee-McNelis said.

    "Yes, it was huge for us," Curl said. "Obviously it's a lucky shot, but it's something we work on every week."

    The Cougars (19-11) won behind a four-prong attack. Sykes and Valerie Muoneke scored 19 points each, Lida had 17 and ShaRonda Lasseter 16 as Houston advanced to Sunday's semifinals.

    "That's not unusual for us," Curl said of the balanced offense. "We've had games with five or six players in double figures."

    Houston, which played only seven players, got five points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists from point guard Jessica Shanklin.

    Memphis (17-12) fell behind 63-51 after a 9-0 run by the Cougars, but the Tigers quickly rallied within five. Houston used 12-5 run to lead 59-47 midway through the second half before the Tigers charged back.

    Houston led 66-62 at 5:05 and 74-71 following a three-point play by Memphis' Tiffany Collins with 1:21 left. A field goal from the left side by Sykes with 59 seconds left was followed by a breakaway layup by Muoneke to make it 78-71 and virtually wrap it up.

    The Tigers were led by Adkins with 18. Collins had 14, Shannon Hamp 13 and Patrice Boyd and Malissa Bush 10 apiece.

    "We got into too deep of foul trouble," Lee-McNelis said. "I didn't think we played very smart and gave up too many second shots. But we played hard the last three minutes."

    But it was Houston playing hard for the entire game that may have been the difference.

    "We were going to play as hard as humanly possible for 40 minutes," Curl said. "I thought we really gutted it out. We just really pounded the glass because rebounding's always the key."



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