HOUSTON – The Houston Cougar Women’s Basketball team dropped a tough 81-65 decision at No. 18/17 USF in the penultimate road game of the 2017-18 regular season, on Wednesday in Tampa.
Houston opened the contest with a 9-of-18 (50.0 percent) quarter to take an early lead in the game while holding the Bulls to 4-of-19 (21.1 percent) from the field and just 1-of-6 from beyond the 3-point line. After the Bulls grabbed the early advantage, Houston answered, with a bucket from Jasmyne Harris and a 3-pointer from Angela Harris, to take its first lead of the game at 5-2.
Jasmyne and Angela combined to score the first 10 points of the game and Dorian Branch added a basket to follow and give Houston a 12-5 lead midway through the quarter. The two teams would trade baskets throughout the middle of the frame, but USF scored three straight to cut the lead to 19-15 late in the quarter.
The Cougars built the lead to as much as 10 in the second quarter after a Jasmyne Harris bucket and a pair of free throws from Myyah West. USF would respond with a 4-0 run of its own, however the Cougars picked up two more from the line from Julia Blackshell-Fair and a 3-pointer from Mariah Mitchell to push the lead to 30-20.
USF would respond in a flurry however, scoring 22 of the period’s final 25 points. The Bulls’ run started with a 3-pointer from Alba Prieto before Alyssa Rader followed with a layup on the next possession. Houston stopped the short run with a pair of free throws from Hawkins and another from West, before USF took over for the remainder of the half.
Kitija Laksa started the 17-0 spurt with a jumper, before Maria Jespersen followed with five straight points. Laia Flores added a pair of free throws before Jespersen made two more to give USF its first lead since the opening minutes. The half ended with back-to-back 3-pointers from Laksa and Jespersen to give USF a 42-33 advantage at the half.
Both teams started slow in the second half, and only 14 points were scored over the first 7:30 of play. USF opened the frame with a 4-0 run, but Hawkins and Angela Harris gave Houston back-to-back buckets to cut the lead back to nine at 46-37. The Bulls would respond with four more before Hawkins answered with another to head into the media timeout with the score 50-39 in favor of USF.
The two teams would trade free throws the remainder of the quarter, until Laksa buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give USF a 57-41 lead heading into the final frame.
USF kept the momentum going into the final quarter, opening the period on a 7-0 run to push the lead to 64-41 with just 8:51 left in the contest. Houston responded with a free throw from Jasmyne Harris before Angela Harris connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to 64-48.
Houston continued to fight and scored 10 of the next 15 points to cut the lead to 11. After a pair of USF free throws, West converted on a bucket before Julia Blackshell-Fair followed with a fast-break layup. After a 3-pointer from Laksa, Angela Harris converted back-to-back triples to cut the lead to 69-58 with 4:03 to play.
Houston was never able to pull any closer however, and the Bulls took the win, 81-65.
Score: USF 81, Houston 65
Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Location: Tampa, Fla. | USF Sun Dome
After Houston pushed the lead to 10 at 30-20 midway through the second quarter, USF took control with a 22-3 run, including one run of 17-0 to close out the half.
Houston: Houston finished with a trio of players in double figures including a team-high 21 points from sophomore Angela Harris. The effort was Harris’ third straight of 20 or more points. Jasmyne Harris finished the contest with 14 points, while Serithia Hawkins added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
USF: The Bulls had just two players reach double figures in scoring, but were led by Kitija Laksa with 32 points on 9-of-20 shooting. Maria Jespersen added 19 points, while completing the double-double with a game-high 11 boards.
NEWS AND NOTES
- Angela Harris finished the contest with five made 3-pointers to give her 74 on the season and move her to fifth on the Houston 3-pointers made in a season list. The five triples also gives her 126 in her career and moves her into eighth all-time at Houston, passing Roxana Button (125; 2008-12)
- The Cougars forced 10 steals in the contest, giving them 329 as a team this season and moving them into 13th in school history.
- Freshman Julia Blackshell-Fair picked up a career-high six assists in the contest.
- Houston made eight 3-pointers in the matchup, giving them 208 on the season and extending the program record.
UP NEXT FOR HOUSTON
Houston returns for the final home game of the 2017-18 regular season, when it welcomes UCF to H&PE Arena on Saturday. Tipoff against the Knights is scheduled for noon with the game serving as the Cougars’ Senior Day event.
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Houston will play its 2017-18 home games inside H&PE Arena on the campus of nearby Texas Southern University while renovations continue on the $60 million Fertitta Center.
For the best value to enjoy all 13 regular-season home games, fans can purchase a Shasta Pass for just $80. With the Shasta Pass, fans enjoy admission into every Women’s Basketball home game as well as remaining Volleyball and Soccer contests and Softball games in the spring.
Single game tickets are also available for games throughout the Women’s Basketball season, starting as low as $3 for general admission and $20 for reserved floor seats if purchases are made online before gameday. Ticket sales on gameday or walkup sales begin at $5 for general admission and $20 for reserved floor seats.
Fans can purchase tickets by visiting UHCougars.com/tickets or by clicking HERE, or by calling the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS.
Fans can receive daily information and in-game updates by following @UHCougarWBB on Twitter. Fans can also catch up with the latest news and notes on the team by clicking LIKE on the team's Facebook page at facebook.com/UHCougarWBB.