Lady Frogs Advance to C-USA Semis With 68-57 Win

March 2, 2002

CHICAGO (AP) - Kati Safaritova scored 20 points to lead top-seeded TCU past Saint Louis 68-57 in quarterfinal action Saturday at the Conference USA women's basketball tournament.

The Lady Frogs (No. 25), who have now won five straight and nine of their last 10, will meet Tulane in the semifinals Sunday.

"It is good to get the first one out of the way," said TCU head coach Jeff Mittie. "We work all season to get the advantage of having a first-round bye. All teams with the bye seem to get off to a slow start today. However it is an advantage since we only have two more games to get through. Hopefully, we will be fresher because of it."

The score stayed even for most of the first half until the ninth-seeded Billikens' (14-15) Angie Lewis hit a layup and a free throw to give them a 19-16 lead at 8:42. But the Frogs (23-5) answered with an 8-1 run to take a 24-20 lead with 4:13 left in the half.

Though the Frogs held the Billikens to 22 percent shooting for the half, the Billikens managed to stay in it by hitting 12-of-17 free throws to TCU's 4-of-5.

The conference regular season champion Frogs ended the half with a 32-28 lead. Safaritova led all scorers in the half with 15 points. Harmonie King paced Saint Louis with 8.

"We had tremendous effort," said Saint Louis head coach Jill Pizzotti. "We did a good job of shutting down Sandora Irvin, but we had our hands full with Kati (Safaritova). And then Ashanti Nix gave us trouble throughout the whole second half. TCU just had so many weapons."

In the second half TCU put together a 9-2 run to put themselves up 56-42 with 9:37 left. The Billikens followed with a 7-2 run of their own but never got closer than six points the rest of the way.

The Lady Frogs will face Tulane in the second semifinal game on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. (CST).



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