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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sports

Looking Back: UH women’s basketball’s top 5 2019-20 performances


Junior guard Julia Blackshell-Fair (23) scanning the floor as she avoids the Bearcats defenders. | Lino Sandil/ The Cougar

Junior guard Julia Blackshell-Fair (23) scanning the floor as she avoids the Bearcats defenders. | Lino Sandil/ The Cougar

The Houston women’s basketball team had a down year in 2019-20 when it comes to its record, but even though the wins weren’t where the program wants it to be, there were still plenty of moments and performances that stand out.

With the team optimistic for 2020-21 as multiple redshirts become eligible to play along with the additions of Deneen Parker and LaSondra Barrett to the coaching staff, The Cougar takes another look at the high moments from last season.

Here are our top five moments of the 2019-20 women’s basketball season:

Dymond Gladney dominates against Tulane and USF

After seeing only a limited amount of playing time during her freshman season, Dymond Gladney took a big step forward in her sophomore year, which saw her become on of the leaders of the Cougars.

The 5-foot-3-inch guard appeared in all 31 games for Houston in 2019-20 and averaged 11.7 points and three assists per game.

Gladney racked up plenty of accolades throughout the year, like making the Fordham Holiday All-Tournament Team.

Another one of her season achievements was being named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week on Feb. 3, which was earned after two strong outings against two opponents.

Against Tulane and USF, Gladney combined to score 45 points, which included a career-high 29 points in an overtime victory over the Green Wave, 18 of which came off of 3-pointers along with a season-high and career-high five steals.

Houston Rallies for win over Southern Mississippi

One of the toughest wins this season came when the Cougars faced off against Southern Mississippi.

The Eagles and Cougars were practically neck-and-neck through the first two quarters of the contest, but Southern Mississippi held a five-point advantage at halftime.

In the third quarter, however, Houston’s offense caught fire. The team shot 53.3 percent from the field in the period and the Cougars took the lead entering the final quarter.

In the fourth, Houston raised its field goal percentage to 63.6 percent with 10 points coming from sophomore forward Tatyana Hill, who ended the night with a career-high 24 points.

On defense, the Cougars held the Eagles to 30.8 percent shooting from the field as Houston ended up winning the contest 75-50.

Branch named College Sports Madness College Player of the Week

Senior forward Dorian Branch had an outstanding four seasons with the Cougars.

In her time here, the Dallas-native was able to start in 90 games and achieved numerous milestones.

In 2019-20, Branch’s list of accolades grew. From scoring a season-high 24 points to go along with a career-high six assists in a game over the New Mexico Lobos, to becoming the 27th UH women’s basketball player to score 1,000 career points.

Another standout moment this past season came early when Branch was named College Sports Madness Conference Player of the Week.

The award came after a standout performance against Oklahoma, in which Branch tallied 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and going perfect from the free-throw line that helped the Cougars secure an 85-69 victory over the Sooners, which was the first win against them in program history.

Gladney and Hill lift Cougars to victory

Just a few weeks into conference play, both Hill and Gladney posted strong outings against the Pirates to give the Cougars their second conference win of the season.

The sophomores combined for 44 points, with both players scoring 22 points each, 15 rebounds, two assists and four steals.

In the first quarter, Hill grabbed five of her 12 rebounds, while Gladney drained two 3-pointers that put Houston out in front first.

After a back-and-forth contest between the teams for much of the contest, Hill and Gladney helped put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, combining for 12 of the team’s 20 points in the period, which sealed the 72-63 win for Houston.

Houston OT thriller against Wichita State

Arguably the best win of the season for the Cougars came on Jan. 25 when they hosted the Shockers at the Fertitta Center.

Coming off a loss to the Bearcats, the Cougars had to quickly turn around and play Wichita State just three days later.

The contest itself was a close contest the entire game, but things really picked up in the fourth quarter.

With less than 90 seconds left in the game and the Cougars trailing by three, Hill drew a crucial offensive foul, which set up a layup from sophomore forward Bria Patterson that cut the lead to one.

After the Shockers split a pair of free throws, Gladney was able to find freshman forward Jazmyne Lewis for a shot that sent the game into overtime, tied at 53.

In the extra time, the Cougars scored eight consecutive points, which gave them a lead the Shockers were unable to overcome as Houston won 64-56.

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