Jan. 4, 2014
PISCATAWAY, N.J.--- The Cougars played a superb first half for a third consecutive contest, but were unable to keep the momentum churning in the second half, as Houston fell to Rutgers, 68-47, Saturday afternoon at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
Senior forward Marissa Ashton led the Cougars with a game-high and season-high 19 points on a spectacular 8-of-11 shooting from the field, including knocking down a season-high three treys in the loss. The 19 points was the most amount of points any Cougar has scored off the bench this season
Senior center Yasmeen Thompson also recorded a season-high tying 12 points, a season-best four blocks, and corralled 10 rebounds for her second double-double on the year and the seventh of her career. Senior forward Te'onna Campbell also chipped in a game-high 11 rebounds in the loss.
Kahleah Copper led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while also grabbing nine rebounds, while Betnijah Laney notched a double-double, scoring 17 points and pulling down 15 rebounds for Rutgers (11-2, 2-0 The American) in the win.
Houston (4-10, 0-3 The American) put together one of its most impressive halves of the season in this one, as it actually held a 27-26 lead at intermission, over a Rutgers team that was receiving votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ Coaches' poll coming in.
The Cougar defense was absolutely stifling throughout the first 45 minutes, holding the Scarlet Knights to just 9-of-37 from the field for 24.3 percent shooting, which was the lowest percentage the UH defense has held an opponent to in any half this season.
It didn't look good early for the Cougars, as the Scarlet Knights raced out to an 8-0 advantage before Houston finally recorded its first field goal with 17:48 left to play in the half.
But the Cougars eventually chipped away to make it just a 19-18 deficit with 9:35 remaining in the half, after Ashton drilled one of her three treys in the game from the top of the circle.
Just two minutes later, Ashton would strike again, nailing yet another triple, this time fading away from the left corner, to give the Cougars their biggest lead of the game at 25-21 with 6:15 left in the half, to cap off a 9-2 Houston scoring run.
Houston aimed to keep the momentum rolling in the second half, as Marche Amerson opened up the scoring, nailing a mid-range jumper to extend the Cougar lead to 29-26 with 19:18 left.
Ashton once again came up with another clutch three-pointer to give the Cougars a 34-33 lead with just over 14 minutes remaining, but that would be the last lead the Cougars would see, as Houston only scored 14 points the rest of the way.
The Cougar bench outscored the Rutgers' reserves 21-8, but it just wasn't enough, as the Scarlet Knight offense picked it up late in the game, shooting 18-of-31 from the field for 58.1 percent in the second half.
Houston now looks ahead to Tuesday, where the Cougars will travel to No. 1 UConn in attempt to earn what arguably would be the biggest win in program history.