Houston drops third C-USA loss
The Cougars traveled to El Paso to play the Associated Press ranked No. 24 Texas-El Paso on Thursday at the Don Haskins Center, where the Miners finished on top 80-55. The loss moves the Cougars to 14-11 on the season and 8-3 in Conference USA.
The Miners retain first place in C-USA with an in-conference record of 11-0 and a 19-2 record overall.
The win against Houston extended UTEP’s winning streak to 16. The Miners, who came into this game ranked for the first time in the 34-year history of the program, were dominant for most of the game – Houston’s only lead came in the first two minutes.
Sophomore forward Courtney Taylor led the Cougars with 10 points in the game, but the Cougars’ offense sputtered as a whole. The team shot just 26.2 percent from the field through the game, which did not stack up against the 45.1 percent shooting effort recorded by the Miners.
Leading the way for UTEP was senior center Izabela Piekarska, who scored 17 points. She was one of three Miners who put up double digits against Houston, while Jackson was the only Cougar to hit double figures.
The Cougars were able to out-rebound the Miners by a margin of 47-45; Taylor also grabbed a team-high 9 boards. However, the Cougars’ problems again arose from not protecting the ball. Houston had 20 turnovers while only forcing UTEP into 12 errors. The Miners were able to turn the Cougars’ turnovers into 34 of their points.
Houston got off to a slow start, making only seven field goals in the first half. The Cougars held the lead for the first two minutes of the game, but the ensuing 20-6 UTEP run put Houston at a 41-20 deficit at halftime.
The loss puts the Cougars into a three-way tie with Southern Methodist and Alabama-Birmingham in the C-USA standings for second place. Houston has five regular season games left.
UTEP was the first of a four-game Houston road trip, which ends against SMU on Feb. 23.
Houston will head to New Orleans to face the Tulane Green Wave on Saturday.