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Purdue-Texas Tech Preview




GAME: No. 3 Purdue (28-6) vs. No. 2 Texas Tech (25-6)
REGIONAL: Mideast, semifinals.
TIME: Saturday, 2:37 p.m. EST.
SITE: Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham, Ala.

A pair of former NCAA Women's tournament champions vie for a spot in the Mideast region final as Texas Tech squares off with Purdue.

The second-seeded Lady Raiders won the 1993 title behind Sheryl Swoopes, who went on to lead the Houston Comets to four straight WNBA titles. Texas Tech is trying to reach a regional final for the second straight season and for the fourth time overall. The Lady Raiders were bounced by Tennessee in the round of eight last season.

Texas Tech is in the round of 16 following two impressive victories, including a 73-52 win over seventh-seeded Virginia Tech on Sunday. Plenette Pierson scored 22 of her career-high 28 points in the second half as the Lady Raiders erased an early eight-point deficit in reaching the regional semifinals for the third straight year.

"I was being more aggressive in the second half," Pierson said. "In the first half, I was looking for the foul first instead of the basket. In the second half, I was looking for the basket, and if the foul came, fine."

Purdue, the third seed, captured the 1999 championship but suffered a second-round exit in defense of its title last season. The Boilermakers withstood a tough challenge from sixth-seeded LSU on Sunday before emerging with a 73-70 second-round win.

The senior stars for the Boilermakers - Katie Douglas and Camille Cooper - carried the team, finishing with 21 and 13 points, respectively. Douglas sealed the victory with two free throws in the final seconds.

"I was just talking to myself, telling myself it was just any other free throw," Douglas said. "That's the kind of adversity you face in tough games. I was happy just to step up and knock 'em."

Despite the two teams' success in the tournament, they have never met.

Purdue - F Douglas (15.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg), F Shalicia Hurns (9.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg), C Cooper (14.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg), G Kelly Komara (9.2 ppg, 2.5 apg), G Erika Valek (6.2 ppg, 2.4 apg).
Texas Tech - F Pierson (15.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg), C Tanisha Ellison (4.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg), G Candi White (3.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg), G Katrisa O'Neal (10.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg), G Amber Tarr (8.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

Purdue - At-large bid, Big Ten Conference, defeated No. 14 UC Santa Barbara 75-62, first round, defeated No. 6 LSU 73-70, second round.
Texas Tech - At-large bid, Big 12 Conference, defeated No. 15 Pennsylvania 100-57, first round, defeated No. 7 Virginia Tech 73-52, second round.

Purdue - 23-10, 12 years. Texas Tech - 22-12, 14 years.



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