March 2, 2012
IRVING, Texas - The 2012 Conference USA women's basketball regular season came to an end Thursday night with East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, Tulane, Tulsa and UTEP all winning their final games.
UTEP and Memphis had already secured the top two spots in next week's C-USA championship. The Miners, who ended the season 26-3 overall and 15-1 in league play, enter the four-day tournament as the top seed and will await the winner No. 8 seed UCF and No. 9 seed Southern Miss. Both teams lost their final regular season game but are extremely dangerous as Southern Miss (12-17, 6-10) went 7-1 in February while UCF (12-16, 7-9) has strong senior leadership.
Host Memphis will welcome No. 7 seed Marshall or No. 10 seed SMU to Elma Roane Fieldhouse on Thursday for a 1:30 p.m. game. Memphis sports an overall record of 23-6 and went 13-3 in C-USA action. The Tigers also defeat their home court extremely well, going 15-1 at home this season. The Thundering Herd (16-13, 7-9) ended with a road win at UCF, 69-60. Marshall has won three of its last five games, while SMU (13-16, 6-10) has dropped six of its last seven.
Tulane, UAB and Rice ended the season in a three-way tie for third place in the C-USA standings. The Green Wave escaped with the No. 3 seed, followed by the Blazers and Owls.
Tulane is set to see the winner of the of No. 6 seed Tulsa and No. 11 seed East Carolina. The Green Wave has won a league-record five tournament titles including three-straight from 1999 to 2001. Tulane has also appeared in the championship game the last two seasons. The Golden Hurricane (13-14, 8-8) swept the two-game series against SMU with a 61-57 win on Thursday. This is Tulsa's highest seed since winning the tournament as the No. 1 seed in 2006. East Carolina (11-18, 5-11) won five its last six games, including three straight and a 70-57 win over Southern Miss on Thursday.
Taking the fourth seed is UAB (18-10, 9-7). The Blazers look to snap a four-game losing skid when they face the winner of No. 5 Rice and No. 12 Houston. Rice swept the season series between the city rivals. The Owls have won three of their last four, including a 52-48 victory over UTEP in El Paso to end the Miners 15-game winning streak on Feb. 26. The Cougars (3-25, 2-14) find themselves on the opposite end of the bracket this season as UH held the No. 1 slot a year ago. Houston has faced a slew of injuries this season but has come up with a pair of conference wins.
The first two days of tournament action will be hosted inside the Elma Roane Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Memphis. The semifinals and championship game will be played at the FedExForum in downtown Memphis and televised by CBS Sports Network.
The official bracket will be announced Saturday night following the completion of the men's games.
Fans can purchase tickets by calling 901-678-2331 or logging onto www.gotigers.com.
Courtesy of: Debbie Davis