Cougars aim for home win
The Cougars return home today after a successful, albeit short, road trip.
UH (10-7, 4-1 Conference USA) handed then-first place UAB its first conference loss by claiming a 63-62 decision in front of a national TV audience Sunday.
Tonight’s matchup against Tulsa (6-10, 0-5) should be less of a challenge for UH, as the Golden Hurricane come in on a five-game losing streak with the last three coming on its home court. Tulsa has a 1-6 record on the road and, not surprisingly, finds itself in second-to-last place in C-USA.
The Cougars, however, will try to reverse their trend of being too accommodating of hosts. Since topping North Texas on Dec. 2 at Hofheinz Pavilion, UH has dropped five consecutive home contests.
A common theme during their recent struggles has been the Cougars’ inability to sustain leads and hold off late runs. Even in their win over UAB, the Cougars nearly blew an 18-point lead midway through the second half.
Still, head coach Joe Curl was pleased with how his team responded, especially since it was unable to do so against Marshall in the previous game.
In that contest, they were up by 19 points at halftime, before losing in the second half.
“They’re a really good basketball team,” Curl said. “(UAB) kept their poise and just hung in there, and they crawled back into it. We showed some poise and guts to pull it out and get a win out of it.”
Joining the club
Along the way, UH junior forward Courtney Taylor became just the 19th player in school history to surpass the 1,000 career points mark with her 16-point performance against the Blazers.
Senior forward Larrissa Williams leads Tulsa in scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, good for fourth-and fifth-best in the conference, respectively. Also a force on the defensive end, Williams has accounted for half of the Golden Hurricane’s 78 blocks on the season. In Saturday’s loss to Marshall, Williams recorded her 37th career double-double with a team-high 16 points and 12 rebounds. Junior guard Kara Vaughn chipped in 12 points, but Tulsa’s downfall resulted from a 13-minute scoreless stretch in the first half. For the game, the Golden Hurricane shot a putrid 25.7 percent, well below its season average of 38.1 percent.
Take it outside
The Cougars will again rely heavily on guard Brittney Scott, who leads the team in scoring at 17.1 points per game, and the frontcourt combination of Taylor and forward Leslee Mason to contain Williams. Taylor and Mason, who are averaging 9.9 and 9.6 rebounds per game, respectively, will be charged with forcing Tulsa to rotate the ball to the perimeter and away from Williams.
After tonight’s matchup, the Cougars continue their homestand when they host SMU at 2 p.m. Sunday. The game will be part of a men’s-women’s doubleheader against the Mustangs.