UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The No. 10 seeded Houston Cougar Women’s Basketball team upset No. 7 Cincinnati 74-61 in the first round of the Frontier Communications American Athletic Conference Championship on Friday. The win for Houston advances them to the quarterfinal round to meet No. 2 Temple, on Saturday.
Houston controlled the action through most of the contest, including early when the Cougars raced out to a 10-4 lead to open the game. Houston opened the first quarter with a pair of layups before senior Jacqueline Blake and freshman Angela Harris buried a pair of 3-pointers to extend Houston’s lead. Cincinnati answered with a 7-1 run of their own to take a 13-11 advantage, but the Cougars forced three turnovers on the Bearcats next four possessions and rattled off eight straight points to eventually lead 22-17 at the end of the first quarter.
Houston shot 53.8 percent (7-13) from the field in the first quarter and added six points from the free-throw line on eight attempts. The Cougars forced the Bearcats into five turnovers in the first period, leading to seven points-off-turnovers.
The Cougars built their lead to nine points to open the second quarter after three straight layups from Chyanne Butler, Blake, and Jasmyne Harris. However, the Bearcats answered with a 5-0 run to cut Houston’s lead back to four at 28-24. The half ended with a pair of runs from each team, with the Cougars taking a 33-24 lead on a 5-0 run before Cincinnati answered with a 6-0 run to enter the locker room trailing 35-30.
The Cougars were able to work the ball down low in the first half, scoring 20 points in the paint during the first 20 minutes. A big contribution on the block was Blake, who finished the first half with 10 of her 12 points.
Scoring was at a premium to begin the second half, as the two squads combined to score just 25 points in the frame. Houston had their worst shooting quarter of the contest at 25.0 percent but picked up a pair of big 3-point baskets from Jasmyne Harris and Angela Harris to weather the storm after Cincinnati had mounted a 9-5 run to cut into the lead. When the buzzer sounded the Cougars had won the quarter 13-12 and led 48-42 after 30 minutes of play.
Cincinnati opened the final quarter with a flurry from Bianca Quisenberry. The senior guard buried back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the score for the first time since it was 13-13 in the first quarter. Houston found the scoreboard for the first time on a jumper from Blake and then proceeded to score 26 of the next 39 points over the remainder of the game.
With just 2:54 remaining in the contest, Cincinnati cut the lead to five points on back-to-back layups from Ana Owens and Chelsea Warren. However, Houston responded with a big 3-pointer from sophomore Serithia Hawkins to push the lead back to eight. With the clock winding down, three Cougar freshmen, Angela Harris, Dorian Branch and Jasmyne Harris, would combine to go 7-of-7 from the free throw line during the last 1:16 to ice the game.
Score: No. 10 Houston 74, No. 7 Cincinnati 61
Date: Friday, March 3, 2017
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, Conn.) | American Athletic Conference Championship First Round
Early in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati rallied to tie the score at 48 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Bianca Quisenberry. However, the Cougars answered with a flurry of their own, scoring nine of the next 11 points to put the game out of reach.
Houston: For the second time during the 2016-17 season, the Cougars had five players score in double figures, including a team-high 17 from Angela Harris. Jasmyne Harris just missed a double-double scoring 16 points and pulling down a team-high eight rebounds, while Serithia Hawkins scored 15 points, Jacqueline Blake added 12 and Dorian Branch contributed 10.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats picked up a solid contribution from Shanice Johnson who tallied a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Ana Owens led all scorers in the game with 20 points including an 8-of-10 mark from the free-throw line, while Bianca Quisenberry added 10 points.
NEWS AND NOTES
- With the win over the Bearcats, Houston advances to the quarterfinal round of the 2016-17 Frontier Communications American Athletic Conference Championship, where they will meet No. 2 Temple who received a first-round bye.
- The Cougars improved to 2-3 all-time in the American Conference Championship tournament. The Cougars other win in the postseason event also came against the No. 7 seed when they defeated Memphis 73-67 on March 7, 2014.
- Houston improved their all-time record in conference tournaments to 27-35.
- The 74 points for Houston are the most they have scored in their five American Athletic Conference Championship games, surpassing 73 in a win over Memphis in 2014.
- Ronald Hughey picked up his first win as a head coach against Cincinnati, snapping a 6-game losing streak to the Bearcats.
- The 74 points for Houston are the most the Cougars have scored in a conference tournament game since March 7, 2004, when they defeated TCU 86-75 to win the Conference USA Championship.
- Freshman Jasmyne Harris matched a career-high with three blocks in Friday night’s contest. Coincidentally, her previous 3-block game came at Cincinnati, on Jan. 7.
UP NEXT FOR THE COUGARS
Houston advances to the quarterfinal round of the American Athletic Conference Championship where it meets No. 2 Temple. The Cougars met the Owls just one time during the regular season, a 69-57 win for Temple inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Tipoff against the Owls is scheduled for 5 p.m., with the contest airing live on ESPN3.
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