Depth, boards key in home opener
Forward Jessieka Palmer became the first freshman to score double digits in the Cougars’ first road contest since forward Sha’Ratta Hawkins posted 28 points at Wisconsin on Nov. 18, 2005. Palmer said the stat sheet was not as important as winning though.
“Scoring double digits, that was big, but after leaving with an L, it wasn’t something to celebrate,” Palmer said.
Palmer finished with 10 points and hit 50 percent of her shots. She didn’t start the game but was the first player off the bench. Head coach Todd Buchanan said Palmer could contribute to his best bench during his tenure at UH.
“We got in foul trouble relatively early (against Mississippi State),” Buchanon said. “We weathered the storm in the first half, and in the second half we did a good job, we just didn’t finish the deal. I think this can be our deepest team to date.”
Senior guard Porsche Landry finished with a team-high of 16 points. It was Landry’s first time on the court since suffering an injury early last season against Georgetown.
Landry said it will be good to play in front of the home crowd again.
“I’m excited for this being my first home game in a year,” Landry said.
The Cougars dropped their opening game of the year 72-66, but prepare for their home opener Tuesday against Alabama at Hofheinz Pavilion. Buchanan said the Cougars could fix the issues that caused the loss.
“A lot of that is just nerves, inexperience, learning to play the game on the division I level on a big stage,” Buchanan said.
UH was out-rebounded 65-39. Sophomore center Martha Alwal grabbed 18 boards.
Buchanan said two tough tests to open the season will be good for UH.
“Obviously, I put this schedule together for a reason; we’ve got to learn. Sometimes the best lessons are hard lessons: You go back-to-back and play SEC foes (and) you learn.”