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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Sports

UH women’s basketball closes season with comeback win over ASU


Laila Blair capped off her strong freshman season with a team-high 12 points to lead UH women's basketball over Arizona State | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

Laila Blair capped off her strong freshman season with a team-high 12 points to lead UH women’s basketball over Arizona State. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

The Houston women’s basketball team capped off its best season in years with a 50-48 victory over Arizona State in the WNIT Fort Worth Consolation Final to finish 17-8 on the year.

The Cougars opened up the game with a bang, scoring six points in the first 1:14 of the first quarter to jump out to an early lead.

UH continued to build on its lead throughout the first half, getting it all the way up to 12 points midway through the second quarter. But the Sun Devils responded with a 5-0 run to end the quarter, making it a 33-26 game going into the half.

Coming out of the locker room, Arizona State immediately picked up on its momentum from the closing minutes of the second quarter and outscored UH 16-6 in the third.

Trailing by three heading into the final quarter of play of the entire season, UH head coach Ron Hughey told his team the same message he had been preaching all year.

“The toughest team wins each and every time,” Hughey said. “That’s the one thing we kept saying in our huddle, every timeout, every media timeout, is the toughest team wins.”

The Cougars responded to Hughey’s message, going toe-to-toe with the Sun Devils until freshman guard Laila Blair dished the ball out to sophomore guard Miya Crump, who hit a dagger 3-pointer to put UH up two with just under three minutes in regulation.

Arizona State responded with a bucket of its own to tie the game at 48.

But as she’s done all year, Blair once again rose to the moment as Crump delivered a perfect pass to the cutting Blair, who banked in a layup to put the Cougars back on top.

UH’s defense locked up for the remaining minute of play to secure the 50-48 victory.

Blair finished the game with a team-high 12 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists.

Sophomore guard Britney Onyeje hit a team-high three 3-pointers on her way to 11 points, while Crump added 10 points off the bench.

This victory to end a season, that was a major step forward for the program, on a high note perfectly captured the goal of the UH women’s basketball team had all year: to move the needle forward.

“Our culture took a big jump this year,” Hughey said.  “It moved 75 percent in the right direction.”

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