The University of Cincinnati plays Wright State in a 7 p.m. game at Fifth Third Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The Bearcats had a 10 day break from games for finals and are coming off a 61-55 win at Xavier on Dec. 1 in the 30th edition of the Women's Crosstown Shootout.
Four UC players are averaging double figures, led by redshirt-sophomore Kahla Roudebush's 17.0 points a game. Junior forward Jill Stephens, who has the top individual game rebounding performance in the BIG EAST with 22 against McNeese State, averages a team-high 11.3 rebounds a game.
Freshman guard Tenishia Benson had an amazing streak at the free throw line, landing her first 27 shots she attempted. At Dayton, Benson hit her first four free throws before missing, to snap her streak at 27. Benson's streak of 27 made free throws topped UC's Valerie King's streak of 21 made free throws set during the 2002-03 season.
Cincinnati is averaging 72.7 points a game and is outrebounding its opponents by a 12.6 margin (46.7-to-34.1 rebounds a game). The Bearcats have not averaged more than 72 points a game since the 2001-02 squad that dropped 74.5 points a game. The 2001-02 team finished the season 27-5 overall, won the Conference USA Tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Bearcats remain at home for the next three games, taking on Youngstown State on Saturday, Dec. 15 in a 2 p.m. contest.
LAST TIME OUT: Jill Stephens matched a career-high with 22 points and played 40 minutes to lead UC to a 61-55 win over Xavier in the 30th edition of the Women's Crosstown Shootout played at the Cintas Center. Four Bearcats played the full 40 minutes with Kahla Roudebush scoring 17 points and Tenishia Benson chipping in 11 for UC. The Bearcats snapped XU's streak of three consecutive wins in the Crosstown Shootout and took home the Kendle Cup.
Cincinnati landed two three-pointers to start the game and went on a 9-1 run that gave UC a 14-3 lead with 11:52 to go in the half. Xavier pulled within five points before the Bearcats landed two treys and a jumper to regain an 11 point lead, 22-11. Xavier continued its physical play in the paint and tied the game at 22 with 3:11 remaining in the half. With 18 points in the paint to UC's two, the two teams went into the lockerrooms tied at 26. All five of UC's starters played the entire first half with Stephens scoring 14 for the Bearcats. UC landed six three pointers in the half and was outrebounded 26-17.
Cincinnati went down by as many as six points in the second half, trailing, 38-32, with 14:30 left in the game. The Bearcats stuck to their game and came back, taking a 41-40 lead at the 9:48 mark and never looking back. Xavier pulled within two with 4:37 remaining, but solid defense and rebounding kept the Bearcats in the lead. Cincinnati won the battle of the boards in the second half, 23-17.
ABOUT WRIGHT STATE: Wright State (2-6 overall) is coming off 64-46 loss at Wake Forest on Dec. 5. The Raiders opened the season with a five game losing streak and then bounced back with wins over North Dakota State and Canisius in the Cal-Poly Holiday Beach Tournament. Wright State has four players that score in double figures, led by freshman guard Sheylani Peddy's 15.6 points a game. Senior forward Sierra Crayton pulls down 6.5 rebounds a game for the Raiders, who were picked to finish seventh in the preseason Horizon League Poll. Head coach Bridgett Williams is in her seventh season at Wright State and owns a 69-112 overall record.
TIP IT GOOD: Natasha Graboski, a 6-3 sophomore center, has won four of the last six jumpball tips and won the overtime tip in the Duquesne game. Graboski is one of the team's tougher players, fouling out of the Duquesne, Presbyterian and Xavier games and recording a team-high 25 fouls this season. The center has the third-highest assists on the team with 14.
BEARCATS BITS: The 2007-08 Bearcats return nine letterwinners and three starters from last season's squad that finished 15-14 overall and 6-10 in the BIG EAST Conference. Of the letterwinners returning for the Bearcats, junior guard/forward Shelly Bellman, one of UC's top returning players with a 10.4 points per game average last year, is out for the 2007-08 season with a leg injury. Senior forward Emy Ogide has not played this season but is expected to suit up some time in December while junior guard Angel Morgan is working back to full speed after an injury in the game against Michigan.
BIG EAST HONOR ROLL: Junior forward Jill Stephens was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll for the week ending Nov. 26, as announced by the league office. Stephens started both the McNeese State and Duquesne games, averaging 14.0 ppg, 17.0 rpg, and shooting 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Stephens pulled down 22 rebounds -- 14 of them offensive -- in the McNeese State game, earning third place in the UC record books for total rebounds in a game and tying a Fifth Third Arena record with 14 offensive boards. She recorded her second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds vs. Duquesne. Stephens scored a career-high 22 points in the Xavier win and is currently ranked ninth in the nation with her 11.3 rebounds a game average. Her 22 rebounds against McNeese State is currently the highest individual rebounding performance in the BIG EAST and is tied for second in the country (with Courtney Paris of Oklahoma).
BENSON BRINGS IT: Freshman guard Tenishia Benson was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll for the week ending Nov. 18, as announced by the league office. Benson earned her first start against Valparaiso and showed no rookie jitters. She finished the game with a game-high 25 points and was perfect from the free throw line (11-11). Additionally, Benson started the second half against Michigan and finished the game with 11 points and seven rebounds. The last UC freshman to lead the team in scoring in her first collegiate start was Shelly Bellman (15 points in 74-39 victory over St. Francis on Nov. 19, 2005). Benson continued her hot start with a 15 point, nine rebound performance against Duquesne, landing 9-of-9 free throws. Against McNeese State she was 2-for-2 at the line and she landed one of one attempt against Presbyterian, increasing her streak to 23. At Dayton Benson hit her first four attempts before missing. She finished with a streak of 27 made free throws, passing Valerie King's streak of 21 set in the 2002-03 season. Benson finished the McNeese State game with her first double-double of the year, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, and at Dayton she recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She scored 11 points, seven in the last two minutes, in the win at Xavier.
ROUDEBUSH RANKS: Redshirt sophomore Kahla Roudebush leads the team in scoring with 17.0 points a game, which ranks 74th in the country. Roudebush's 86.4 free throw percentage is 59th in the nation and her 2.9 three pointers per game is the 18th-best mark in the nation.
FROM DOWNTOWN: The Bearcats have landed 59 three pointers this year and averages 8.4 treys a game. With 21 regular season games left in 2007-08, if UC remains its current average per game it will finish easily within the top-5 in the school record book. The Bearcats' three pointer average per game is the fifth highest in the nation.
WINDOW WIPERS: The Bearcats will focus heavily on rebounding this year and are off to a good start, outrebounding opponents, 327-239. UC grabbed 60 rebounds against McNeese State, the third highest rebounding performance in school history, and followed it up with a 54 rebounding game against Presbyterian. Currently Cincinnati leads the BIG EAST with a +12.6 rebounding margin which ranks ninth in the country.
FINE AT THE LINE: In exhibition this season, the Bearcats were 19-for-32 (59.4%) from the charity stripe and currently UC is shooting 77.9 at the line. Freshman Tenishia Benson was an outstanding 11-for-11 from the line in the win over Valparaiso and followed up that performance by going 9-for-9 against Duquesne. The Bearcats did not miss at the line against McNeese State, going 10-for-10 as a team and tying the school record of 100% from the free throw line. The 2003-04 team was perfect from the line twice in 2003, landing 11-for-11 against Indiana State and going 14-for-14 against Loyola Marymount. The Bearcats are 13th in the country in free throw percentage, connecting on 90-of-116 attempts for a .776 percentage at the charity stripe.
PF PER GAME: Cincinnati's 13.0 personal fouls per game average is the third best in the country (out of 326 teams). The Bearcats have only had someone foul out of a game four times this season and have committed only 91 fouls so far as a team.
PROTECTING THE BALL: After averaging 20.5 turnovers a game in the first two exhibition games, UC has done a much better job protecting the ball over the last seven games, committing only 15.0 turnovers a game, which ranks 23rd in the nation.