March 10, 2010
TULSA, Okla. - Conference USA Player of the Year Courtney Taylor scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as second-seeded Houston survived a scare from No. 10 seed UTEP to hang on for a 57-55 win during day two of the 2010 GMC Sierra C-USA Women's Basketball Championship Tuesday evening at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
It was Taylor's 15th double-double of the year and the 40th of her career as Houston advances to the C-USA Semifinals where the Cougars will face sixth-seeded UAB on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Both semifinal contests, as well as Friday's championship game will be televised live on CBS College Sports Network. With the win, Houston improves to 17-13 on the year. UTEP, meanwhile, concludes the 2009-10 season at 16-16.
The Cougars used a pair of first-half runs to build a lead. Houston scored the first seven points of the night and raced out to a 9-2 lead before the Miners eventually chipped away and pulled to within 9-7 on a pair of Jareica Hughes' free throws.
However, the Cougars used a 15-2 run during the next 6:49, scoring 11 unanswered points during one stretch, for a 24-9 lead on Roxana Button's trey with 7:47 remaining in the opening period. The Miners pulled to within eight points on several occasions in the first half but could get no closer as the Cougars took a 34-23 lead into the locker room at the break.
With a 10-0 run midway through the second half, the Cougars seemed to seize control of the game, building a 48-30 lead following a pair of Courtney Taylor free throws. However, UTEP used a 20-1 run during the next 9:57 and grabbed a 50-49 lead on Briana Green's jumper with 2:56 to go.
The Miners broke a 53-53 tie and took the lead again on Anete Steinberga's jumper with only 100 seconds remaining. The Cougars knotted the game again at 55-55 on a pair of Porsche Landry free throws with 1:18 remaining. After a missed Miner shot and a Leslee Mason rebound, Landry drove the lane but dished to Taylor under the basket, who laid the ball up and in for a 57-55 Cougar lead with only 35.1 seconds remaining.
UTEP missed a shot on its ensuing possession and the Cougars claimed the defensive rebound. After Houston inbounded the ball, Landry was fouled with 12 seconds to go but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to give the Miners hope.
The Miners worked the ball around but a pass was tipped of a Cougar defender and rolled out of bounds with only a fraction of a second remaining. After officials went to the courtside monitor to put 0.4 seconds on the clock, the Cougars defense did not allow UTEP to get a shot off as time expired to preserve the UH victory.