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Tulsa Women`s Hoops Captures 81-80 Thriller over SMS in WNIT First Round

Senior Allison Curtin scored 30 points and led TU to an 81-80 win over Southwest Missouri State on Friday night.
Senior Allison Curtin scored 30 points and led TU to an 81-80 win over Southwest Missouri State on Friday night.
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Nov. 15, 2002

Box Score

Springfield, Mo. - Tulsa senior All-America candidate Allison Curtin scored a game-high 30 points and junior Candice Brewer added a career-best 24 points to lead the Golden Hurricane to an 81-80 triumph over Southwest Missouri State in the first round of the 2002 Women's National Invitation Tournament in front of 6,183 fans at the Hammons Student Center.

With 29-seconds left in the game and Tulsa (1-0) clinging to a one-point lead in front of the largest crowd to ever witness a TU women's basketball game, Curtin sank a running jumper with the shot clock winding down to give the Hurricane a three-point advantage. Southwest Missouri State (0-1) pulled to within a point on a Kari Koch lay-up with 12-seconds showing on the game clock.

TU in-bounded the ball to Brewer, who then outran SMS defenders who were desperately trying to foul, and managed to milk eight seconds off the clock before the Bears fouled junior Kayla Elliott with three seconds remaining. Elliott missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity and Southwest Missouri State gained control of the ball and called timeout with 1.2 seconds to go in the contest. After the time-out, SMS threw a pass to mid-court where three Hurricane players deflected the pass, but somehow the Bears still managed to get a shot off, but the attempt failed to find its mark. The horn sounded and TU captured a victory in a season-opener for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign.

With the win, Tulsa advances to the second round of the WNIT and will face No. 24 Mississippi State in Starkville, Ms., this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. The Bulldogs defeated South Alabama, 81-67, in their first-round game.

In her first regular season game in a Tulsa uniform, Curtin ignited the Hurricane, hitting 10-of-15 field goal attempts, including 4-of-5 three-pointers and connected on 6-of-7 free throws for 30 points. She notched 18 points in the first half, including seven of TU's first nine points during the first three minutes of the game. Curtin also added six steals and five rebounds



Brewer drained 4-of-8 three-pointers and tallied 14 of her points in the second half. Also playing a key role in the win was redshirt freshman Emily Jaskowiak who spelled a foul-plagued Alyssa Shriver and finished with career-highs in points with nine and rebounds with nine. Sophomore LeAnn Upshaw registered seven points and seven assists in the winning effort.

TU came out firing on all cylinders in the first half, shooting 47.1 percent from the field and held a 16-point advantage at the 9:48 minute mark in the opening period. SMS countered with center Stephanie Busbey's 12-point performance and trimmed the deficit to five points in the final minute of the half. Two Curtin free throws gave the Golden Hurricane a seven-point, 42-35, advantage at halftime.

Tulsa opened the second half with a 16-3 run and jumped out to an 18 point lead. The Hurricane managed to keep Busbey in check by keeping her scoreless in the second half. However, Sarah Klaassen led the SMS charge by hitting 4-of-5 three-point attempts en route to an 18-point second half. Behind Klaassen, the Bears slowly shrunk the TU lead and a Klaassen trey at the 3:08 mark tied the game at 77-77.

SMS finished with four players in double figures, including a team-high 23 points from Klaassen, 14 points from Jenny Lingor, 13 points from Meg Tierney and 12 for Busbey. Busbey also had 14 rebounds for a double-double.

The Golden Hurricane shot 57.7 percent in the second half and 51.7 percent for the game. SMS outrebounded Tulsa, 38-30, but committed 14 turnovers to just 10 for TU.

"SMS is an extremely difficult place to play. We got hot early and held them off at the end. Allison Curtin was phenomenal, both offensively and defensively. Candice Brewer was a key player for us. She had a career game and was a defensive stopper. It's a great win for our team and our program. We beat an exceptional team on the road tonight," Tulsa head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said.