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Friday, January 15, 2021

Sports

UH women’s basketball cruises past Wichita State


UH women's basketball senior guard Julia Blackshell-Fair battles through contact against Wichita State's Seraphine Bastin on Dec. 30, 2020 at Fertitta Center. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

UH women’s basketball senior guard Julia Blackshell-Fair battles through contact against Wichita State’s Seraphine Bastin on Dec. 30, 2020, at Fertitta Center. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

Coming off a road win against Memphis, the Houston women’s basketball team rolled past Wichita State 79-65 at Fertitta Center on Wednesday.

“Oh, man,” UH women’s basketball head coach Ronald Hughey said. “We’re right where we expected to be.”

Five Cougars finished with double-digits, led by fifth-year guard Eryka Sidney, who had 17 points and sophomore forward Bria Patterson, who put up a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

“I was really proud of them for sticking together, and just being there for each other,” Hughey said.

UH (5-1, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) came out strong, opening with a seven-point run.

“We started off the game very energetic and hot,” Sidney said.

Sidney lit it up from the 3-point line early on, going 2-2 from behind the arc to shoot UH’s lead to eight.

The Cougars’ defense also created issues for the Shockers (3-3, 0-1 AAC), causing them to have double the turnovers UH recorded with under four minutes in the first quarter.

Wichita State, who had not played a game in over 20 days, tried to chip away at the Cougars’ lead by taking advantage of free throws, but sophomore guard Britney Onyeje responded with a 3-point basket from the left corner to extend the lead to nine.

The 3’s didn’t stop there as Blackshell-Fair passed to freshman guard Laila Blair for another one with seconds left in the period. Going into the second, UH led by 10.

The advantage only grew for UH as Blackshell-Fair added another assist for a three from junior guard Diamond Gladney.

Wichita State switched up its defense with double teams and a stronger effort in transitions to force UH turnovers, but it was not enough to stop Sidney’s lights-out shooting. She went on to go 5-5 at the 3-point line.

“During the game, I wasn’t really worried about it, but after the game when everybody told me about it (shooting 100 percent from the 3-point line) I was like ‘Oh, I’m proud of myself,” Sidney said.

Before the half, the Cougars went on about a three-minute offensive drought, which was only made worse by turnovers.

“Down the stretch, we were kind of going a little slow, but we were disciplined enough to get the win and stay focused,” Patterson said.

Right before the buzzer sounded, Sidney threw up a deep one from behind the arc to add to UH’s offensive onslaught and give the Cougars a 15-point lead at halftime.

The second half was more of the same as UH continued to own the offensive boards, which led to second-chance shots and put the Cougars up by 21 with under seven minutes left in the third quarter.

The UH women’s basketball team maintained a sizable lead throughout the rest of the period, going into the final period up by 16.

The Shockers made a small run in the fourth quarter, getting within 11 a couple of times, but the Cougars were able to keep them at bay.

“We were good for a while, and we just got to a point where we just started fouling,” Hughey said. “I think we got a little bored.”

“If you want to be a championship team, you have to stay locked and loaded,” Hughey added.

With the win, the UH women’s basketball team continues to build on its best start since the 2010-11 season when the program got out the gates to a 9-1 start.

“The culture of what we’re building here, to trust, protect and empower is showing up each and every practice and game, that’s the thing I’m most proud of,” Hughey said.

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