UH sends Rice to steam cooker
UH went into Tudor Fieldhouse tied for sixth place in the Conference USA standings with in-town rival Rice, but snapped its deadlock with the Owls with a 72-53 victory Thursday night.
The Cougars (11-10, 5-3) moved into sole possession of fifth place and extended their road win streak to four.
Junior forward Courtney Taylor scored 18 of her game-high 20 points in the second half and grabbed 14 rebounds to tie Sancho Lyttle’s school record for career double-doubles with 35.
“I’m happy about tying the record, but it’s not that big a deal to me,” Taylor said. “But I am looking forward to breaking the record because then it becomes mine.”
Brittney Scott, the Cougars’ leading scorer, added 15 points and five assists against the Owls. D’Frantz Smart and Amenemope McKinney paced Rice with 11 points each.
The battle in the early going favored the Owls (10-11, 4-4), who capped an early 12-4 run on a long jumper from behind the arc from senior guard Tara Watts.
UH got in on the offensive action after getting into the lane for easy layups to tie the game at 14 with 12:08 remaining. Rice kept itself in it by connecting on four 3-pointers before heading to the locker rooms with the game tied at 27.
The Cougars came out more aggressively in the second half on the strong inside play of Lesslee Mason, who finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
“We have a habit of letting teams hang around, and that’s what we did in the first half,” Taylor said. “In the second, we just came out and focused on hitting our shots and trying to get the win.”
Sophomore Jackie Stanley tried to rally Rice with six points on an array of mid-range jumpers, but when Smart fouled out at the 4:17 mark, UH was off to the races and never looked back.
“We got behind early on in the game, so we had a choice: let them have it or fight back,” UH head coach Joe Curl said. “So we went out, fought back and got the win.”
Next up for UH is a matchup against Memphis at 1 p.m. Sunday inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Cougars will take part in “Hoops for the Cure” on Sunday to raise awareness for breast cancer. Events planned for the day include the recognition of cancer survivors and halftime entertainment provided by the Highflyers, a jump rope performing group.