UH women’s basketball gets past ECU to advance in AAC Tournament
The Houston women’s basketball team defeated East Carolina, 73-63, on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.
Tuesday’s win marked the Cougars’ first tournament victory since the 2016-17 season. They will play against Central Florida on Wednesday evening.
“We’re ready for anybody in this tournament,” sophomore guard Miya Crump told the ESPN+ broadcast after the game. “Not just UCF. We’re coming for everybody.”
Crump did a little bit of everything in the game as she ended with 14 points, six rebounds, two blocks, a team-high four assists and tied an AAC Tournament record with six steals.
The Cougars were shorthanded against the Pirates as junior guard Dymond Gladney missed her second consecutive game after suffering a plantar fasciitis injury against South Florida on Feb. 27. The team does not know if she will able to play against UCF.
“It’s 50-50 on whether she can play tomorrow,” UH head coach Ronald Hughey said. “We’re going to evaluate her and see.”
Freshman guard Laila Blair made a strong debut in her postseason career with UH, scoring a team-high 19 points and garnering eight rebounds in the Cougars’ victory.
“I really cherish these moments because it’s a blessing, and I’m thankful I have the opportunity just to play in the postseason,” Blair told reporters after the game.
She was unable to play in a postseason in her final high school season last year due to the coronavirus.
Sophomore forward Bria Patterson hit a deep buzzer-beater 3-pointer that extended the UH women’s basketball team’s lead to seven over ECU heading into halftime.
It proved to be a crucial basket as the Cougars struggled to score from the field in the second half, not making their first basket until under the three-minute mark in the third quarter.
UH only shot 6-of-29 in the second half. The Cougars relied on strong free-throw shooting, 22-of-29 throughout the game, to take them to the finish line.
Patterson ended the game with 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
The Cougars’ defense was stifling all night as they forced 18 turnovers and did not allow a single-made 3-pointer, holding the Pirates to a dreadful 0-of-17 from behind the arc. The UH women’s basketball team also did a good job on the glass against ECU, as it secured 48 rebounds in the contest, which was a big difference-maker.
With Wednesday’s game being a crucial one for the UH women’s basketball team’s chances at making the NCAA Tournament, Hughey said his team is not trying to get ahead of itself.
“We’re not even thinking about the NCAA tournament right now because we have to take care of business here,” Hughey said. “We’re in a situation where if we win, we can increase our chances, and that’s where we want to be.”