Flames On Fire Heading Into 2000 MCC Women's Basketball Tournament

Freshman Jaysie Chambers has keyed UIC's recent success.
Freshman Jaysie Chambers has keyed UIC's recent success.

March 7, 2000

Chicago, Ill - Six weeks ago, the UIC women's basketball team was battling Loyola to stay out of the basement of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. Now, heading into the 2000 MCC Tournament, March 9-11, in Detroit, Mich., the Flames are the hottest team in the league and bring a six-game winning streak and the tournament's No. 4 seed into Calihan Hall for a Thursday afternoon tilt with fifth-seeded Butler at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Head Coach Tim Eatman's squad, which consists of 10 newcomers, came together in February as they went 6-1 in the month, including a win over Detroit in Calihan Hall and home victories over the top two teams in the MCC, UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee. All in all, UIC turned a 1-5 conference start into a 8-6 conference finish, good for fourth place, defeating every team in the league except the team they meet on Thursday, Butler.

The exceptional play of late by freshman Jaysie Chambers (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley HS) has propelled the Flames to their recent success. The 6-foot-2 center/forward has averaged 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 58 percent from the field during UIC's six-game run. Those numbers are way up from the 5.7 ppg she averaged during non-conference play.

The Flames six-game winning streak is the second longest in school history and the longest a UIC women's basketball team has enjoyed at the Division I level. The school record for consecutive wins is nine, set during the 1979-80 season in which the Flames finished 18-11.

UIC owns a 3-11 all-time record in the 11 conference tournaments they have competed in since 1989 and own just one win in their four MCC Tournament appearances. The Flames have never advanced to the championship game, but have reached the semifinal round on three occasions, including, most recently, in 1996 when they fell to host Wisconsin-Green Bay, 68-46.

They are very happy with their seed heading into the tournament, considering the fact that all three of UIC's all-time tournament wins have come as the No. 4 seed. The Flames were the fourth seed in 1996 when they beat #5 Cleveland State, 79-77, in the quarterfinals, before falling to Wisconsin-Green Bay, 68-46, in the semifinal round. They were the No. 4 seed in both the 1993 and 1994 Mid-Continent Conference tournaments, and on both occasions defeated Valparaiso in the first round.

The semifinals of the MCC tournament will be held on Friday, March 10, at 6:00 and 8:30 p.m. EST, with the championship game taking place on Saturday, March 11, at 7:00 p.m. EST. All games will be played at Detroit's Calihan Hall.