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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Sports

UH women’s basketball defeats Temple for third straight win


UH women’s basketball freshman guard Laila Blair, who had a game-high 19 points against Temple on Wednesday, runs back defense against Wichita State inside Fertitta Center on Dec. 30, 2020. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

UH women’s basketball freshman guard Laila Blair, who had a game-high 19 points against Temple on Wednesday, runs back defense against Wichita State inside Fertitta Center on Dec. 30, 2020. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

After winning its last two conference matchups, the Houston women’s basketball team recorded another one, cruising past Temple in a dominant 80-46 win.

“It was personal,” said freshman guard Laila Blair, who tallied a game-high 19 points.

A large part of the victory comes from the team’s emphasis on rebounding, as UH outdid its opponent in the category 61-36.

“The first thing we wanted to do was take care of rebounding,” head coach Ronald Hughey said. “When you talk about rebounding … It’s just hustle, it’s hard, it’s willing.”

The Cougars had four players that finished in the double-digits for points. Junior forward Tatyana Hill led the way with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds.

“I think I did really good today,” Hill said with a laugh.

Within the first 20 seconds of the game, UH picked up a steal and got the bucket on the other end for the first two points of the game.

But the Cougars’ quick start didn’t last too long as they got into turnover trouble, and the Owls added an and-one play, followed by a 3-pointer. UH trailed 11-6 early in the first quarter.

The Cougars regained the lead after taking advantage of free throws, and the American Athletic Conference preseason player of the year, Mia Davis, was subbed out for foul trouble.

“We wanted to take care of 25,” Hughey said. “Mia Davis is a really good player, she’s a double-double machine, so we wanted to make sure we limited her touches.”

A turnover from Temple led to Blair draining a 3-point basket as the first-quarter buzzer sounded, which gave the UH women’s basketball team a 22-15 lead going into the second period.

“As soon as I hit that, I knew that it was our night,” Blair said. “After hitting that shot, that gave us the momentum and we kept the momentum.”

Redshirt senior guard Eryka Sidney came off the bench and forced another Owls’ turnover, setting Blair up for another 3-pointer, which gave the Cougars an 11-point advantage.

Another 3-pointer from junior guard Dymond Gladney energized UH on both sides of the court, as they forced turnovers and executed more on offense by knocking down shots and increasing its high-low action.

The Cougars led by 13 at halftime.

UH kept it up, forcing turnover after turnover for Temple.

“We made sure we were in the passing lanes and that we were trapping (Temple),” Hill said.

From there, the 3s continued to rain down for the Cougars as sophomore guard Miya Crump hit two back-to-back long-distance shots to keep the offensive onslaught going.

Going into the final frame, the Cougars were on top 64-40.

UH continued to control the tempo until the end of the game and took the 34-point win.

After a tough few weeks for the program, the Cougars picked up its third straight conference win to improve to 5-3 against the AAC, and 8-4 on the season.

“Instead of playing with each other, we started playing for each other,” Hughey said. “They started to show how much they care, and their humility and their character.”

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