UAB Hosts Alabama Sunday at 2 p.m.

March 17, 2001


Alabama is playing basketball in Bartow Arena. It is not the men, but to the women who will be playing the game it is still a chance to beat a cross-state rival, and to advance to the third round of the Women's NIT.

The game will tip-off at 2 p.m. in UAB's Bartow Arena. Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $6 for adults, $4 for high school students and younger and free to UAB students with a valid ID.

UAB comes into the game, 19-10. The Lady Blazers have won six of their last eight games and five straight at home. UAB is 13-1 at home this season. They defeated Florida International 96-83 Friday night.

The 96 points is the most the Lady Blazer have scored this season and the most they have allowed. In that game Mia Thrash scored a career high 29 points. All-American Deanna Jackson recorded her 20th double-double of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Alabama, 19-11, defeated Conference USA member Memphis, 77-67 in Tuscaloosa, Thursday night. It was the second time this year the Tide beat Memphis, both at home. However, prior to the Memphis game, the Tide had lost six of eight.

UAB split with the Tigers this season, winning 78-51 in Birmingham and falling 82-71 in Memphis.

This is the first time the two teams have met since Dec. of 1998 when Alabama won 97-80 at the Arby's Hardwood Classic. This is the only meeting between two teams in the past 10 years. Alabama has won the last eight meetings, dating back to 1986. In that last meeting UAB's, then a freshman, Jackson scored 25 points and had nine rebounds

This year Jackson becoming everybody's All-American. The junior forward has been named third team All-American by the Associated Press, second team by Women's Basketball Journal and first team by Women's College Hoops and Real Sports Magazine. She is a finalist for the Kodak All-American team.

She is second in the nation in scoring with 25.1 points a game and fifth nationally with 11.8 boards a contest. She is shooting 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range. Thrash, a wing player, is second on the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game.

It is on the inside that UAB does most of its damage, however. In addition to Jackson, freshman forward Natasha Thomas comes off the bench to score 11 points and get 6.4 rebounds per game. She is hitting 53.5 percent of her shots. Starting center Shaquetta Rhodes is averaging 6.3 points and hitting 52 percent of her shots. Last year's Conference USA Freshman of the year Michelle Smith is making 57 percent of her shots after missing the first 11 games with a stress fracture in her leg.

Alabama has been bothered by injuries most of the year. Leading scored Shondra Johnson is out with a separated shoulder. She was averaging 13.4 points per game. Center LaNisha Cartwell is the only starter averaging in double figures, scoring 11.2 points per game. She leads the team in rebounding with 6.1 points a game. Cartwell scored 23 points against Memphis. Beth Vice came off the bench to score 22 against the Tigers. She is averaging 10.3 points per game coming off the bench.

The winner of this game will play the winner of Saturday night's Arizona-New Mexico game. The date and time is still to be determined.