Nov. 25, 2001 – The University of Texas Longhorns fought off the University of Southern California Trojans, 66-64, Sunday night to win the women's St. John Division championship at the Paradise Jam 2001 NCAA basketball tournament at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Earlier in the evening, in the consolation contest in the UVI Sports and Fitness Center, the University of Wisconsin upset the University of Florida, 61-40.
Named to the All-Tournament Team were Heather Schreiber, Texas; Ebony Hoffman, USC; Aisha Hollans, USC; Vanessa Hayden, Florida; and Jessie Stomski, Wisconsin.
Texas Longhorns 66, USC Trojans 64
Texas and USC are two traditional powers in women's basketball. Sunday night's game was a rematch of the 1986 NCAA national championship — which Texas won, 97-81, to finish that season with a perfect 34-0 record.
This time, the final score was Texas over USC 66-64, and it was a fight all the way. The Longhorns led 35-31 at the half. They had 15 points from their bench, while the Trojans had only 5.
The Trojans took the lead only once in the half, 5-4, early in the game. The Longhorns quickly came back and eventually pulled ahead by as much as 10 points. The Trojans were down by nine, 33-24, with 2:36 left in the half before they went on a 7-2 run to close to within four points, 35-31, at the end of the half.
Early foul trouble sent both teams' leading scorers — Texas' Heather Schreiber and USC's Ebony Hoffman — to the bench with 15 minutes left in the game, with the Longhorns leading 41-37. Schreiber had 13 points and Hoffman had 12 when they sat down.
The Longhorns built their lead up to 13 points, 56-43, with 7:27 to go. Then Hoffman came back into the game. The Trojans fought back to a 58-58 tie. The lead then seesawed back and forth twice. In the final six seconds, USC's Jessica Cheeks missed two chances to tie the game again.
The Longhorns' leading scorers were tournament MVP Stacy Stephens with 16 points, Schreiber with 13 and Colenica Reed with 10. Schreiber and Reed grabbed five and six rebounds, respectively.
"This was a hard-fought game," a jubilant Texas head coach Jody Conradt said afterward. "We both played well … This game was like a roller coaster. We showed a lot of heart in this victory."
Hoffman led the Trojans with 18 points, followed by Aisha Hollans with 14 and Cheeks with 10. Portia Mitchell grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
"We were too little, too late," USC head coach Chris Gobrecht said. "We knew they could not handle the press and just lost our legs down the stretch."
Wisconsin Badgers 61, Florida Gators 49
No. 23-ranked University of Wisconsin upset No. 12 ranked University of Florida, 61-49, Sunday afternoon at St. Thomas Division women's Paradise Jam 2001 play at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center.
The Badgers, who started three seniors, used their leadership to defeat the young, inexperienced Gators squad, with only two seniors on the whole team, in the division consolation game. "A veteran team can always beat inexperience," Florida head coach Carol Ross said afterward.
The Badgers did have more points in the paint, 26-20, and points off turnovers, 22-15. The teams were close statistically in rebounds — 39 for Florida to 37 for Wisconsin, and in second chance points — 14 for the Badgers to 13 for the Gators.
The Gators just could not get their offense and defense going at the same time. "We needed to score in different ways, and they [Wisconsin] stopped our transition game," Ross said. "We did not play well today but did play hard."
Jesse Stomski had 17 points and seven rebounds to lead the Badgers. Emily Ashbaugh had 10 points and Tamara Moore grabbed eight rebounds.
Vanessa Hayden led the Gators offensively with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Teammate Brandi McClain had nine points and 10 rebounds.
The Badgers finished 1-1 in the tournament and are 2-1 overall for the season. The Gators finished the tournament 0-2 and are 2-2 for the season.