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Illinois Stops Louisville in NCAA’s at Clemson

March 12, 1999

Clemson, S.C.–Tauja Catchings scored on a driving layup with 1.7 seconds left, giving Illinois a thrilling 69-67 victory over #10 seed Louisville in the first round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament at Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum. The #7 seed Fighting Illini team will Clemson on Sunday evening.

Catchings, who had made just 1-9 field goals over the first 39 minutes and 58 seconds, took an in-bounds pass with six seconds left and drove to the basket for a contested layup. Louisville’s halfcourt shot failed and the Big Ten team had its 19th win of the season. Louisville fell to 21-11.

Louisville had tied the game at 67 with 9.6 seconds left when Jill Morton made one of two free throws.

Illinois was led by Susan Blauser with 26 points on 9-18 shooting and 8-11 from the foul line. Allison Curtin added 21 points and eight rebouinds. Illinois shot 42 percent from the field and won the rebounding 42-36.

Louisville was led by Sharon Bellamy with 20 points, while Jill Morton added 18. Jenny Knight had nine assists and Alison Bass contributed 10 rebounds and four steals.

Louisville held a 32-27 lead at intermission thanks to eight first half points by Morton and seven more from Sharon Bellamy. The first half was close throughout, in fact, the Cardinals five-point lead at intermission was the largest lead by either team over the first 20 minutes.

Lousivlle then opened the lead to 10 points at the 11:24 mark of the second half, 51-41, on a layup from underneath by Bellamy. She took a feed from Knight, who had nine assists and just three turnovers on her 38 minutes of play.

Illinois cut the lead to 57-54 at the 8:31 mark on a jumper by Susan Blauser. The game was between six and three points until the final two minutes. In fact, Illinois never took the lead until the 1:17 mark on a layup by Blauser. Louisville led for 32 of the last 33 minutes of the game, but Illinois wnet on a 8-1 run over the last 2:14 to claim the victory.