Career-high 22 from Blake power Cougars to 10th win of season
The Cougars returned to form Wednesday night defeating Tulsa in a suspenseful 65-63 battle inside the Reynolds Center in Oklahoma.
Led by a career-high 22 points from senior center Jacqueline Blake, Houston swept the season series against the Golden Hurricane, bringing their record to 10-16 overall and 3-10 in the American. This is the second time Blake has set a new career-high this season, besting the mark of 15 she put up against Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 13.
Head coach Ronald Hughey reintroduced freshman Dorian Branch into the starting five. Branch, who had not started a game since December, scored seven points in the first quarter, ushering the team to 20-15 lead after at the first break.
At the start of the second quarter, Tulsa capitalized on turnovers committed on three consecutive Cougar possessions, allowing the Golden Hurricane to take a 21-20 lead. The Cougars quickly regained the lead after scoring back-to-back 3-pointers. The Cougars would head into the half up 36-35.
The motif of back-and-forth continued on throughout the second half. The Cougars went in with the lead, relinquished and regained the lead.
The tenacious effort of Houston’s defense was the edge the Cougars needed, as a 16-8 run to end the third quarter gave them a 53-50 lead heading into the fourth.
Tulsa had the advantage early in the fourth quarter scoring eight points and leaving Houston down by three. But the relentless intention of the Cougars’ defense left the Golden Hurricane scoreless for more than half of the 10-minute period.
The Cougars would take the lead for good with 4:29 to play after a layup by freshman guard Angela Harris put them up 59-58. The Golden Hurricane were able to get within two but with under two minutes left to play, Houston scored three free throws to put the game away.
Multiple Cougars scored in double figures in the game, including Blake, Branch and freshman guard Jasmyne Harris. With her 15 points, Harris is tied for eighth on the all-time freshman scoring list with a total of 291 points.
The Cougars will return to Hofheinz Pavilion on Tuesday to face South Florida. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on ESPN3.