UH soars over Owls, extends streak to 10
The Cougars throttled cross-town rival Rice 71-51 to remain perfect in conference play Thursday at Hofheinz Pavilion.
Cougar point guard Porsche Landry roared down the court and weaved through the lane at will, pouring in 22 points on 10-17 shooting to fuel the UH (19-4, 10-0 in Conference USA) attack that never trailed in the game.
“I felt like P got us going,” head coach Todd Buchanan said. “Our transition game came back to life, and that was the thing I was most frustrated with.”
The Owls (14-10, 6-4 ) were limited to 35 percent shooting, thanks in large part to the tough defense played in the middle by UH. The Cougars’ defensive effort was sparked by the emotional leader of the night — center Zalika Dyson.
Dyson — recovering from a knee injury that took her season away a year ago — dominated her 12 minutes on the court with career highs in scoring and rebounding. She recorded eight points, nine rebounds and a block to feed the speedy UH guards in fast break opportunities.
“I felt good today,” Dyson said. “I feel happy about the way we’ve played, and sometimes you have to step up. I had a lot of heart today because it’s Rice, of course, and I never know which game is going to be my last one.”
When both teams came out after halftime, the Landry and Dyson show took over, doubling UH’s lead to 20 by the final buzzer. Landry’s penetration and Dyson’s three put-back layups brought life to the announced crowd of 627 after a stagnant first half. The team fed off Dyson’s energy off the bench.
“When she came in to the game I felt she changed the game,” Buchanan said. “It wasn’t just about her play, it was also her emotion and her heart.
“She got the crowd in to it. It looked like everybody in the building was going to sleep and I felt like she was completely the difference.”
UH opened with a 8-0 lead that they maintained through a defensive struggle in the first half. Brittney Scott led the effort in the first with her pressure on Rice’s interior defense by hitting contested shots in the lane. Landry followed her lead in the second half, and the Cougars rolled.
The Cougars look to continue their success in C-USA against East Carolina at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Hofheinz Pavilion. The game will be televised on ESPN2.