Michael Calderon" />
side bar
Saturday, September 23, 2023

Women's Basketball

Cougars take rivalry game at the buzzer

The Cougars hosted their in-town rival Rice Owls Wednesday night in a tightly contested game where in the matchup’s conclusion, sophomore guard Alexia Sanders landed a game winning three-pointer as time expired to give Houston a 59-58 win.

The Cougars started hot, scoring the first two baskets to open the game and, following a layup by sophomore forward Tyler Gilbert, took a 12-11 lead early in the first half.

The game got tight as it progressed, however, with 24 lead changes and nine ties down the stretch.

The Owls used a 7-0 run to take the lead, 23-20, at the 6:44 mark. The Rice bench provided an immediate spark, knocking down a three-pointer, grabbing steals and layups to switch the momentum just before the half.

Houston fought back to close the gap, but turned the ball over twice in the half’s closing minute and went into the locker room trailing 28-29.

The back-and-forth action continued throughout the second half until, with 1:01 left to play, Rice guard Nakachi Maduka connected on a three-pointer to push the Owls ahead 57-54.

Following two missed free throws by the Owls, Gilbert narrowed the lead to 56-57 with 39 seconds remaining on a made layup.

With just 5.5 seconds on the clock and a two-point deficit, junior guard Alecia Smith took the inbounds pass and dribbled down the middle of the court. After crossing the center stripe, she passed to Sanders on the right wing, and Sanders connected on a 22-footer as time expired to seal the victory.

“We wanted (Alecia) to be able to shovel it out to (Alexia) and her to be able to get a mid-range pull up,” said head coach Ronald Hughey of the game’s final play. “Well, the unexpected thing was (Alexia) shooting the three. I’m just super excited that she had enough confidence to take it.”

The three-pointer was just the third of the season for Sanders and the fifth of her collegiate career but she came up big in the clutch.

“I was just trying to do whatever I could to help my team win,” Sanders said. “(Alecia) had the drive, but she kicked it to me and I just shot it. It went in and the refs said (it was) good.”

Sanders finished the game with 10 points, three rebounds and four assists while Gilbert recorded her first career double-double and set career highs with 17 points and 11 rebounds. She was 8-for-13 from the floor and added two blocked shots.

The Cougars will be in action again at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 as they host the Prairie View A&M Panthers (1-6).

[email protected]

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑
  • Sign up for our Email Edition

  • Polls

    What about UH will you miss the least this summer?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...