Cougars take back Hofheinz
The Cougars came into Thursday’s matchup with Tulsa knowing they had to reverse a couple of trends.
After dropping their last five home contests and relinquishing double-digit leads in their last two games, the Cougars knew they had to put together two solid halves to have a chance at knocking off Tulsa.
The first half may not have been the prettiest, but UH used dominant second-half play from junior forward Courtney Taylor and clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch to top Tulsa 77-69 in front of 370 fans at Hofheinz Pavilion.
UH (10-9, 4-2 Conference USA) allowed Tulsa (6-11, 0-6) to hang around in the opening period by committing 15 turnovers that led to 18 points for the Golden Hurricane.
Not surprisingly, the Cougars took a slim 31-29 lead into the locker room, despite shooting 55 percent compared to 28.9 percent for Tulsa.
Head coach Joe Curl said that, despite the win, turnovers continue to be the Cougars’ biggest problem.
“What we’ve got to get fixed is rebounding and turning the ball over,” Curl said. “And if we don’t get it fixed by Saturday, it won’t be a very pretty game.”
For one game, though, the Cougars were able to overcome their sloppy play, behind a career-high 31 points from Taylor, who also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds for her 34th career double-double. She now trails Sancho Lyttle by one for the all-time UH record.
After limiting Tulsa’s leading scorer (15.8) and rebounder (8.9) Larrissa Williams to just six first-half points, Taylor matched Williams in a mano-a-mano duel in the second half to help UH outscore the Golden Hurricane 46-40 after halftime.
“I could tell by her body language that she was trying to take it on, and I just concentrated on trying to block her out,” Taylor said.
Williams went on to finish with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, but Taylor scored 19 second-half points and Brittney Scott seven of her 15 points in the closing minutes to preserve the win.