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Houston Baptist rips Incarnate Word
Wednesday, Jan 30, 2002
By Steven Key

AUSTIN, Texas (BP)--Finally back to a full complement of players, Houston Baptist used a 12-3 spurt midway through the second half to pull away from University of the Incarnate Word and claim a hard-fought 75-68 victory in Sharp Gym on Tuesday night. It was the eighth straight win for the Huskies, who have now won 26 games in a row at home.

Both HBU and UIW came out with physical, full-court pressing defenses, going back and forth for the entirety of the first half. Neither team gained more than a six-point advantage.

HBU started things off by jumping out in front 15-10 midway through the first half, going inside to their strength and getting five points from Elinor Smith and four each from Tiffany Andrews and Erica Smith. But things went cold for the Huskies after that, as they went almost four minutes without a point.

In that dry stretch for the Huskies, Incarnate Word ran off 11 unanswered points as part of a 13-2 run that gave the Crusaders their largest lead of the half, 23-17, at the 5:24 mark. The march was capped off by consecutive buckets underneath from April Walker.

The run was broken up by six straight points from Tonie Noise on back-to-back layups and two free-throws which pulled HBU back to within one, 25-24, with 3:49 before the half.

The Huskies finished off their 14-5 run over those final five minutes of the half, using six points from Tiffany Andrews, including a layup with 1:29 on the clock, to give the Huskies their largest lead of the half, 31-25.

The Crusaders aided HBU's efforts with a three-minute cold spell of their own, going from 3:18 to the 17-second mark without a point. A three-point play from UIW's Danelle Evans cut the lead to 31-28 at the half.

After a defensive struggle in the first half, the two teams turned to the offense. The two teams traded baskets fro the first seven minutes of the half, with the Huskies holding onto a slim 43-39 lead on the strength of six points from Jere' Adams.

However, HBU again went cold, going four and a half minutes without a point, and the Crusaders capitalized. UIW used a 6-0 spurt, capped by a lay-in from Hilary Akromis to take a 45-43 lead with 10:40 to go.

It would be the last time the Crusaders would be ahead in the game. Natasha Avey finished off a 12-3 run with consecutive lay-ins to give HBU a 54-48 lead at the 6:29 mark.

The Crusaders would cut the lead to four on three straight possessions, matching the Huskies basket for basket, and closing to 58-54 on a jumper from Michelle Viverette with 3:34 to go. HBU then hit the backbreaker, a three-ball from the top of the key by Griffin Colvert with the shot clock winding down at the 3:12 mark.

HBU would keep the Crusaders at bay the rest of the way, hitting 10-14 free-throws in the final two and a half minutes, led by Andrews, who nailed 4-4 from the line.

The Huskies shot a blistering 57 percent for the game, hitting 27-47 from the floor, and helped their own cause by nailing 20-27 from the stripe (74.1 percent) to offset a 30-25 deficit on the glass.

Incarnate Word shot 49% from the floor, but committed 25 turnovers.

Andrews led the Huskies with a season-high 26 points on 10-12 shooting from the field. She also was a perfect 6-6 from the line, and had four steals. It was her 11th 20-point effort of the season.

Elinor Smith had 13 points and eight rebounds, which snapped her personal best six-game double-double string, while Adams chipped in 10 points and had a game-high eight assists.

The Crusaders, who fall to 6-13 on the season, were led in the losing effort by April Walker, who scored 16 points and had five rebounds. Amy Mueller added 15 points and four assists, and Lindsey Perez scored 13 points. Hilary Akromis had a team-high six boards.

Houston Baptist, still No. 7 in the newest NAIA Top 25 poll released on Tuesday, is now 20-4 on the season, the third straight season with 20 wins. The Huskies will return to Red River action on Saturday afternoon, when they host Paul Quinn College in a 1:00 pm matinee, which kicks off the Homecoming festivities.

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