Feb. 8, 2001
UAB LADY BLAZER BASKETBALL
UAB (13-8, 5-5) VS. CHARLOTTE (9-12, 4-6)
FEBRUARY 9, 2001, 7:00 CST
THE LADY BLAZERS
UAB is 13-8 and 5-5 in Conference USA, third in C-USA's National Division. The Lady Blazers have split the last two weekend's on the road. UAB beat Cincinnati 61-58 Friday night and lost to league leader Louisville 72-63. The Lady Blazers are 8-1 at home and 3-6 on the opposition's home court. Deanna Jackson is still second in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.8 points per game. She is fourth in the nation in rebounding, pulling down 11.8 per game. Mia Thrash is second in scoring, averaging 13.4 points a game. Natasha Thomas comes off the bench to provide 9.9 points and 5.7 rebounds a game.
HEAD COACH, JEANNIE MILLING (South Alabama `71, 229-174, 14th year at UAB, 390-283, 24th season overall)
Milling is in her 14th season as head coach of the Lady Blazers. The all-time winningest coach at the school, she led UAB to the NCAA tournament in `94 and 2000. She has also led the Lady Blazers to WNIT Bids in `91 and `92. Milling was head coach at Spring Hill College in Mobile for four seasons, compiling a 99-62 record. She moved from there to Georgia Southern, where she was 62-48 in six years as head coach.
Charlotte is 9-12 overall and 4-6 in C-USA. However, the 49ers have won four in a row. They are in sixth place in the American Division, but, are just one game out of second place. Three teams are tied at 5-5 in league play. Guard Tonya Phifer leads the team in scoring with 18 points per game. She is also averaging 3.3 assists per game. Forward Alicia Abernathy is the leading rebounder with six per game. She is averaging 8.2 points. Forward Tonika Smith averages 8.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Charlotte has played its last five games at home.
UAB leads the series 12-8. The Lady Blazers won last year in Charlotte 65-48. The last time the two teams met in Birmingham, UAB won 66-60. The Lady Blazers leads the series 4-2 in Birmingham.
UP NEXT FOR UAB
The Lady Blazers host Saint Louis, Sun. Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. in Bartow Arena
GOOD TO BE BACK HOME
UAB plays in Bartow Arena for the first time since Jan. 21. The Lady Blazers have played the last four games on the road, spliting them 2-2. UAB is 8-1 at home this year, however, it lost its last home game, to Tulane, 74-67, breaking an eight-game home win streak. The Lady Blazers have a margin of victory of +13.1 at home this season.
IN THE THICK OF THINGS
UAB is third in the National Division of Conference USA with its 5-5 league mark. That puts the Lady Blazers in the thick of a wild C-USA race. Louisville leads the American Division and overall at 10-1. Tulane leads theNational at 8-3 and Houston is second at 7-3. After that four teams, including UAB and Sunday's opponent Saint Louis, are 5-5. Whoever comes out of that pack with the better record would receive a bye in the first round of the C-USA tournament. The two division leaders and the next two overall teams will get a bye. To show how balanced things are, Charlotte is last (sixth) in the American Division, at 4-6, but is just one game out of second place. There are seven teams within a game of each other for the fourth spot.
LOOKING FOR A BETTER START
Here is a trend the Lady Blazers are looking to change. UAB has trailed at halftime in five of the last six games, winning two of the five. (They led South Florida from beginning to end.) They came back to defeat Southern Miss at home, 62-55 and Cincinnati on the road 61-58 in the final seconds. In four of the last six games, UAB has trailed by as much as 16 points. However, in three of the games, the Lady Blazers took the lead (falling to Houston after taking a four-point lead). They cut the margins against Tulane and Louisville to three points, but got no closer.
This was the first time UAB started 2-0 in C-USA since the league was formed in 1995. As a matter of fact, UAB had never won its Conference USA opener before beating Memphis earlier in the season. The Lady Blazers last won their first two conference games in 1994 when they finished 23-6 and won the Great Midwest Conference.
UAB has scored in the 60's in six straight games. They have gone 3-3 in those games. While the Lady Blazers are 5-4 while scoring in the 60's the key is the defense. UAB is 8-0 when holding the opponents to under 60 points. The Lady Blazers are 8-2 when scoring 70 or more.
UAB is 16th in the nation in shooting percentage, hitting 46.6 percent of its shots. The Lady Blazers fell to second in C-USA after hitting just 41 percent against Cincinnati and 32 percent against Louisville. UAB shot 58 and 57 percent in the previous two games against South Florida and Houston. The Lady Blazers are 11-3 when shooting better than 45 percent from the field. They have shot 50 percent or better eight times this season, going 7-1.
THOMAS, LEADING FRESHMAN
Freshman Natasha Thomas is one of the top freshmen in the league. She is averaging 9.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Thomas is averaging 10 points in C-USA games. She has two double-doubles in the last four games. She scored 17 points and had 12 rebounds against league-leader Louisville. She had 17 points and 10 rebounds against South Florida. Thomas has scored in double figures five times in 10 league games and 10 games overall. Thomas started against Houston and scored 11 points.
THRASH OVER THE 1,000-POINT MARK
Mia Thrash became the 17th player in UAB history to reach 1,000 points when she scored 20 against Cincinnati, last Friday. She finished that game off in style, converting a three-point play with 0.3 seconds left for the win. Thrash now has 1,020 points for her career.
SOME CONFERENCE NUMBERS
Deanna Jackson is in the top 10 in eight of 12, C-USA statistical categories, leading the league in scoring and rebounding...Jackson's 38 points against Middle Tennessee is tied for the most points by a C-USA player this year...The Lady Blazers are third in scoring margin with a +6.8.
JACKSON ON C-USA CAREER LIST
Deanna Jackson is currently seventh on C-USA's all-time scoring list. Jackson has 1,620 points. She is 35 points behind Lisa Oldenburg of Marquette, who scored 1,655 points. Jackson is fourth in rebounding with 873. Mfon Udoka of DePaul is in third, 13 ahead, with 886. Jackson is also fifth in blocked shots with 103, seven behind Tamika Whitmore, who played at Memphis.
A RARE CLOSE GAME
Only five games this season has been decided by five or less points . The win over Cincinnati was only the second one decided by three or less. The first time it happened DePaul scored a three-point play with 3.2 seconds for its 61st point to beat UAB. The second time, UAB scored a three-point play for its 61st point to beat Cincinnati.
FRONT COURT STRENGTH
One of the main reasons for UAB's outstanding shooting is its strong inside game. Shaquetta Rhodes and Natasha Thomas are 2-3 in shooting percentage in C-USA. Rhodes is hitting 56.5 percent from the field and Thomas, 55.6 percent. Deanna Jackson is just under 50 percent, at 49.6. Michelle Smith has made 57.6 percent of her shots in the eight games she has played. Those four have scored 63 percent of the team's points and have 66 percent of the rebounds. For the record here is their numbers
Deanna Jackson, 25.8 ppg, 11.8 rpg 49.6 %
Natasha Thomas, 9.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 55.6 %
Shaquetta Rhodes, 6.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 56.5%
Michelle Smith, 4.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg 57.6 % (10 games)
A FEW MORE NOTES
Turnovers are not always the key stat for UAB. The Lady Blazers are 5-3 when turning the ball over 20 or more times and 2-5 when forcing the opposition into 20 or more turnovers...UAB has lost just twice when shooting less than 45 percent from the field...The Lady Blazers have not had more than three people score in double figures in a single game this season...In two of the last four games, Deanna Jackson and Natasha Thomas have recorded double-doubles in the same game, against South Florida and Louisville...Sally Jeter has 62 assists, attempted 42 shots, and scored 51 points.
THE 2000 IN-SEASON TOURNAMENTS
UAB participated in four in-season tournaments this year. The won the championship at both tournaments hosted by UAB, the Lady Blazer Classic and Lady Blazer Invitational. In the classic UAB defeated Kansas 67-62 and Tennesse-Martin 85-62. In the Invitational they beat Florida A&M 86-58 and Troy State 75-54. Deanna Jackson was named MVP of both tournaments. Shaquetta Rhodes was all-tournament for the Classic and Mia Thrash was on the all-tourney team for the invitational. The Lady Blazers won the consolation games at both the Nevada Bell Classic and the Air Force Classic. In Nevadao UAB fell to the host Nevada 79-63 before beating Idaho 90-70. At Air Force, UAB fell to North Texas 67-54 and beat Lamar 77-60. Deanna Jackson was named to both all-tournament teams.