In its first matchup of the Cancun Challenge, the UH women’s basketball team picked up a 68-60 victory over Arizona State on Thanksgiving day.
Sophomore guard Laila Blair opened the scoring for the Cougars, sparking a hot start as UH got out to an early 17-6 lead that included a dominant 12-0 run.
UH played strong defense early, holding Arizona State to only 12 points in the first quarter and held a 10 point, 22-12 lead entering the second.
The Cougars shot a stellar 9 for 13 while holding Arizona State to only four field goals in the entire opening quarter.
The second quarter began much more balanced, with the two squads exchanging shots early.
The Cougars’ strong defense continued to propel them. A 3-pointer from graduate guard Eryka Sidney expanded the UH lead to 15 points with 2:52 left in the half.
Arizona State ended the half strong, bringing the UH lead back down to 11. The Cougars finished the first half with a 39-28 lead.
UH’s offensive performance in the first half was led by junior guard Tiara Young’s eight points and the team’s 48 percent field goal shooting.
Defensively, the Cougars made the Sun Devils work for points, with Arizona State shooting only 33 percent from the field and going 0 for 10 from behind the arc in the opening half.
Arizona State began the second half by shrinking the UH lead down to just eight points until UH senior guard Dymond Gladney hit another 3-pointer to immediately raise the Cougars lead back to 11.
Arizona State’s effort on both sides of the ball was much-improved in the third quarter, narrowing the UH lead down to only six points as the quarter came to a close.
UH struggled on offense from start to finish in the third, finishing with only 11 points and shooting just 4 for 16 on the quarter.
UH began the fourth quarter with a six point, 50-44 lead, and opened with an 8-2 run to bring its lead back up to 12 points.
In the final minutes of the fourth, Arizona State brought the lead back down to just six points amid a rough shooting stretch for the Cougars but were unable to complete the comeback.
Senior forward Tatyana Hill, Gladney and Young each scored 12 points.
Hill and redshirt junior guard Britney Onyeje both held down the defensive end, each finishing with four steals.