Houston's Rally Falls Short at UCF
Feb. 1, 2014
ORLANDO, Fla.--- After trailing by as many as 21 points deep into the second half, the Cougars launched a furious comeback to pull within three with just over two minutes left, but Houston just couldn't get over the hump, falling to UCF by the final of 52-43, Saturday afternoon at CFE Arena.
Senior center Yasmeen Thompson had arguably her best performance of the season, as she scored a season-high tying 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, while pulling down a team-high nine rebounds to lead the Cougars.
Sophomore guard Marche' Amerson notched her 10th double-digit scoring contest of the season, pouring in 10 points, with eight of them coming in the second half of play, while sophomore guard Alecia Smith chipped in with seven points and a career-high equaling eight rebounds.
Senior forward Destini Texada also contributed with nine points and seven rebounds off the bench for Houston.
Stephanie Taylor led UCF with a game-high 19 points, while grabbing eight rebounds as the only double-digit scorer for the Knights, while Brittni Montgomery pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds in the win.
Houston (4-17, 0-10 The American) already trailed 15-1 before Texada put in its first field goal with 12:06 left to play in the half.
But this one was far from over, as just minutes later, the Cougars launched a 12-0 scoring run over the next six-plus minutes to cut the Knight lead to just 17-15 with 5:31 left to go in the half, after Texada muscled in a tough layup.
UCF fired back with a 9-0 run itself to extend its advantage to 24-15 with 2:19 remaining in the half, before eventually taking a 30-17 lead into the intermission.
The Cougars were able to collect six steals and score nine points off of seven forced turnovers to stay within striking distance.
However, things didn't look promising to begin the second half, as the Knights came out and outscored Houston 11-3 over the first five-plus minutes to command a game-high 41-20 lead with just 14:51 left in the contest.
But the Cougars would battle their way back and put together one of the best stretches of basketball they've played all season, as they scored seven unanswered points over the next four-plus minutes to get within 41-27 with 11:11 remaining.
And the rally wouldn't end there, as Houston went on to outscore UCF 16-5 over the next nine minutes of action to pull within 46-43 with 2:11 left, after Texada nailed a tough contested jumper. Amerson was able to help the cause as well, at one point scoring six straight points for the Cougars on three consecutive possessions.
Unfortunately for Houston, that's as close as it would get, as the Knights connected on six of their final seven free throw attempts to keep the Cougars from completing the comeback.
Houston owned the paint in the second half, as it outscored UCF 18-6 in that category, while it won the overall second chance battle 14-4 and forced 22 turnovers.
The Cougars return home to Hofheinz Pavilion to take on the Temple Owls, Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. CT.