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To coach again

Barmore, Lady Techsters barely survive Vanderbilt

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Posted: Tuesday March 21, 2000 11:42 AM

  Catrina Frierson Louisiana Tech's Catrina Frierson goes to the basket past Vanderbilt's Chantelle Anderson. AP

RUSTON, La. (AP) -- It was a tough spot for a freshman.

Catrina Frierson may have been a 73 percent free-throw shooter this season, but that didn't make things any easier with the game, the coach's retirement and the NCAA tournament on the line.

"I was nervous, and then Vanderbilt called a time out and I had that much longer to worry about it," Frierson said of the pair of free throws she hit with 2.5 seconds left to lift Louisiana Tech to a 66-65 victory over Vanderbilt on Monday in the NCAA women's Midwest Regional, extending Leon Barmore's coaching career for at least one more game.

"Coach told me just to relax, he said he knew I could make them, and I did."

Tech, which won its 20th straight game, led by as many as 11 points in the second half, but was held to 31 percent shooting by the Commodores.

"In the second half we just executed our offense and go a lot of good looks," Vanderbilt coach Jim Foster said. "We made our shots and executed well on the boards."

Louisiana Tech (30-2) is 32-0 in NCAA tournament games on its home court.

Vanderbilt (21-13), trailing 51-40 with 13:01 left in the game, went on an 11-3 run to cut the margin to 54-51 with 7:58 remaining. Two free throws by Chavonne Hammond pulled Vanderbilt within one point, at 54-53, with 5:12 left.

Ashley McElhiney's two free throws with 14 seconds left gave Vanderbilt a 65-64 lead. But Chantelle Anderson picked up her fifth foul with 2.5 seconds left, sending Frierson to the line.

"I keep trying to play it back in my mind, but it happened so fast I can't really remember it," Anderson said.

After a time out, Frierson hit the pressure-packed free throws, knowing if she missed both it would have been Barmore's final game as coach.

Frierson led Tech with 18 points, Ayana Walker had 16 and Tamicha Jackson had 11.

Anderson scored 23 points for Vanderbilt, Jillian Danker had 18 and Chavonne Hannond 10. Zuzana Klimesova had 13 rebounds for the Commodores.

Tech was called for 22 fouls, Vanderbilt 16. The Commodores made 18 of 23 free throws. Vanderbilt had 23 turnovers to 12 for Tech.

Barmore had stressed the need for good defense and rebounding if Tech was to beat the taller Commodores, but over the first five minutes Vanderbilt outrebounded Tech 7-3 and took an 11-4 lead. Tech also picked up four fouls in that stretch.

The Techsters pulled ahead by nine points with 6:51 to go on a steal by Jackson that she drove the court and laid in to make it 29-20.

Vanderbilt cut Tech's lead to 38-34 by halftime.

Barmore, who announced his retirement last week, was given a standing ovation when he came out for his final game at Tech. Fans, some carrying signs that read "Thanks for the Memories Leon," and "We love you Leon," chanted "Leon, Leon, Leon." Barmore acknowledged the cheers with a quick wave.

After the game, the fans again chanted the coach's name until he returned to the court to acknowledge them.

"It was a great crowd," Barmore said. "They helped us with a really tough win. We've played teams in the Final Four that weren't as good as Vanderbilt. That's how much this game has improved."

 
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