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Houston wins shoot-out with Grand Rapids

March 18, 2003 - National Women's Basketball League (NWBL) - Houston Stealth News Release

Any basketball fans who prefer a slow-down game, would not have enjoyed Monday night’s “track meet” between the Houston Stealth and the Grand Rapids Blizzard. Houston defeated Grand Rapids 98 to 89 in the Stealth’s first home game in a week.

“For those of you who did not come tonight,” said Stealth head coach John Chancellor. “You missed a track meet and you missed a heck of a ball game.”

Thanks to an aggressive trapping defense, Grand Rapids caused Houston to turn over the ball numerous times to start the game and the Blizzard raced to a 12-2 lead with 18:28 left in the first half.

“One thing is apparent to me,” Ozell Wells, Grand Rapids’ head coach said. “The diamond, which is what we call it (full-court trap), is very effective.”

Houston called time-out to regroup; and the Stealth responded with a 10 to 3 run. Recently signed Tina Thompson six of Houston’s points in the run.

The fast pace continued throughout the first half. Thompson led Houston with 14 first-half points (5 for 5 from the field, including 2 for 2 from the Land of Three). Michelle Snow added 10 while Sheryl Swoopes scored 9.

Grand Rapids’ guard Maxann Reese was simply in a zone in the first stanza. She scored 19 points as she made 7 of her 11 field goal attempts (including a red-hot 5 for 7 from behind the 3-point line). Forward Stacey Thomas caused numerous problems for Houston’s perimeter defense as she scored 13 points. Teammate Elaine Powell added 11 points and dished out 5 assists, too.

Grand Rapids led 55 to 50 at halftime. When, the second half started, the Houston Comets’ connection took over.

Comets’ players Kelley Gibson, Thompson; and Swoopes combined for the Stealth’s first 17 points in the second half as the Stealth tied the game at 67. Gibson knocked down 2 of her four three pointers during the stretch.

“My shot was hittin’ tonight,” said Gibson.

Stealth’s guard Tamicha Jackson gave Houston its first lead (70-67) of the second half with a three-pointer, which sparked a 10-0 run by the Stealth.

Grand Rapids got into foul trouble in the second half; and, as the Blizzard struggled on offense, Houston maintained a solid lead for the final seven minutes of the game.

The Stealth attempted 33 free throws in the game (making 26) while the Blizzard only attempted 13 foul shots. Thanks to Michelle Snow’s 11 boards and Octavia Blue’s 10 rebounds, Houston dominated the glass 46 to 27.

Tina Thompson led all scorers with 28 points. Elaine Powell scored 23 for Grand Rapids. After a hot shooting first half, Maxann Reese made only 1 field goal (out of 9 attempts) in the second half.

“If you missed this game, you missed a good one,” said John Chancellor.

Tonight’s victory is Houston’s third straight and improves its record to 6-8. Grand Rapids record is now 6-6 with the loss.

“We’re still in 3rd place in the league, a couple games out of first,” said Coach Wells. “But, we’ll be back (Houston, Tuesday, March 25th) next week.”

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