Aug. 13, 2001
After earning a bid to the 2001 WNIT following their first winning season in nearly 10 years, this year's Lady Cougar squad looks to make a repeat performance in the post-season for the first time since they made back-to-back trips in 1990-91 (WNIT) and 1991-92 (NCAA).
Last season, Houston posted a 19-13 overall record, including a 10-6 record in Conference USA, and received a No. 3 seed in the annual C-USA Tournament. After making it to the semifinals in the C-USA Tournament, Houston fell to New Mexico at The Pit in the first round of the WNIT.
Lying ahead of head coach Joe Curl, who begins his fourth season at the helm of the Lady Cougar Basketball program, and his team this season is the challenge to build upon the success the program enjoyed last season and once again make it the post-season. Both know that will not be an easy task.
With the loss of six core seniors from last season--four of which were starters and three of which averaged over 10 points per contest--the main question mark remains on the ability of the incoming rookie class--six of which are freshman--to make the necessary adjustments to perform at the Division I basketball level. The 2001-02 squad will n doubt have a new look, be competitive and ready to play each game, but many cannot help but wonder if their youth will play a factor in their overall success.
"As far as the bottom line is concerned -- and that is winning and losing -- my goal is to win the next game. Period," said Curl. "From that other goals will come, but right now our main focus will be on winning the next game."
Returnees for Houston this season include seniors Valerie Muoneke and Rosalind Carter, juniors Courtney Pastner, Claire Stavropoulos and Angela Curl and sophomores Chandi Jones and Nicole Oliver.
Jones, the 2001-02 Conference USA Freshman of the Year and the nation's leading freshman scorer last season, returns to the court after missing the final 12 games last season upon suffering from a torn ACL in Houston's win over UAB at Hofheinz Pavilion last January 28.
Highlighting the class of the newcomers this season are local Houston high school standouts Shondra Bush, Ashley Cotton, Kiemona Harris, Sara Hinkley, Crystal Simpson and Jennifer Curl, the younger sister of Angela and daughter of head coach Curl. Also new to the squad this season is junior college transfer Nakia Holmes, who comes to Houston from Central Arizona, the same school in which former Lady Cougar force Monet Sykes was recruited.
Catch up on all the news and notes on Lady Cougars as they prepare for this upcoming season at www.Uhcougars.com.