UCF completes regular-season sweep of Cougars
Two days after giving UConn the most competitive game UH has played in the history of their matchups, the Cougars came out flat and suffered a wire-to-wire loss against UCF.
Three Cougars scored double digit points, but their efforts were not enough as UH fell to the Knights 50-59.
“We’re still getting better,” said head coach Ronald Hughey. “Tonight just wasn’t one of those nights where we thought we were getting better.”
UH had to start its comeback efforts early as UCF ran off with a 10-point lead. The Cougars started strong and tied the game less than two minutes into the first quarter. UH’s next bucket was not until there were only two minutes left in the period. Turnovers and missed shots plagued the Cougars throughout the quarter.
The Cougars got the offense going in the second quarter as the team went on an 8-2 run out of the break. Houston’s defense could not match UCF’s offense, however, and UH entered halftime with a seven-point deficit.
Senior forward Octavia Barnes and sophomore guard Julia Blackshell-Fair shouldered most of the scoring load in the first half. They scored seven and six points, respectively, to keep the Cougars afloat.
Junior forward Dorian Branch carried the baton next for the Cougars as she had a solo five-point run early in the third.
The Cougars kept up for most of the third quarter, but UH once again fell victim to a rash of turnovers and poor offensive possessions. By the end of the third, Houston had a 13-point deficit on the scoreboard.
The Cougars outscored the Knights in the fourth quarter, but the team’s effort was not enough to complete the comeback. Houston got as close as six points away with less than a minute to go in the game before UCF put the game away with free throws.
The Cougars return to action Saturday, March 9 in the American Athletic Conference Tournament after a bye in the first round.