“The win was tremendously important,” UH head coach Ronald Hughey told reporters via Zoom after the game. “We had a tough week this past week.”
The Cougars (6-4, 3-3 American Athletic Conference) got off to a quick start after a layup from sophomore forward Jazmaine Lewis, along with a 3-pointer and multiple baskets off steals from junior guard Dymond Gladney, who finished with 14 points and five rebounds.
This offensive burst helped UH jump out to an early 9-0 lead in the first quarter.
“It was just my day today,” Lewis said. “I did really well.”
The Cougars remained steady throughout the period, reaching a 10-point lead to close out the opening frame.
UH went into the second quarter shooting 58 percent from the field. The Cougars kept it going as senior guard Julia Blackshell-Fair, who tallied a season and game-high 20 points and nine rebounds, put up a jumper. Blair added her second 3-pointer to extend the Cougars’ lead to 15.
“I feel like we played harder today than we did the last couple of games,” Lewis said.
Blackshell-Fair’s impressive showing didn’t stop there. She got an offensive rebound and put-back, along with a basket off a Golden Hurricane turnover.
Blackshell-Fair tallied seven rebounds before the first half ended.
“We have an emphasis on rebounding for four or five drills when we’re playing in practice,” Hughey said on the team’s improvement on rebounding.
The Cougars put up the first points of the second half after another Tulsa turnover and led 41-27.
Sophomore guard Britney Onyeje added more fuel to the fire with a 3-pointer, followed by Crump’s jumper in the paint.
Then Gladney made her second 3-pointer, which gave the Cougars 50 points and kept their momentum flowing.
The Golden Hurricane kept fighting. Tulsa got within 10 points after free throws toward the end of the third quarter along with a UH scoring drought.
“We had been turning the ball over, we were at 17 today,” Hughey said. “We’re trying to get that to 14 or below.”
Blackshell-Fair ended the drought with another put-back bucket.
The Cougars got the first seven points of the final period to jump back out on top by 14, after their lead got sliced to seven to end the third.
The UH women’s basketball team finished strong against Tulsa, controlling the tempo for the rest of the game and winning the contest by 24 points.
“This win brought us back up from all the losses we’ve had recently,” Lewis said. “It’s brought the energy up, it’s brought us more together.”
For Hughey, the win represents the team’s fight through the adversity of the past few weeks.
“My grandmother always said ‘when you lose your way, go back to the beginning, and it will take you where you need to go,’” Hughey said. “So that’s what we did.”