Nov. 9, 2012
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Porsche Landry scored 16 points as the University of Houston Women's Basketball team fell just short in a 72-66 loss to Mississippi State in Friday night's season opener at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Cougars, which trailed by four points at the half, whittled down a nine-point second half deficit and regained the lead with 12:25 remaining in the contest when junior forward Te'onna Campbell found freshman guard Jessieka Palmer for a fastbreak layup.
After the Lady Bulldogs battled back to retake a three-point margin, Palmer drove the lane for a layup and fellow freshman Alecia Smith followed with a steal and converted a 3-point play as the Cougars held a 49-47 advantage with 10:36 remaining.
The two teams would trade baskets down the stretch and the Lady Bulldogs built a five-point advantage with 3:59 remaining when freshman forward Marche' Amerson drained a 3-pointer to bring the Cougars within two points.
Mississippi State split a pair of free-throws on the next possession and Darriel Gaynor followed with a 3-pointer with 2:29 remaining to extend the Lady Bulldog lead to six points that the Cougars wouldn't be able to recover from.
Landry, a senior point guard, added four assists, three steals and three rebounds in 34 minutes in her first action since suffering an injury on Nov. 19, 2011.
Junior forward Marissa Ashton tallied 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks and was 4-of-6 from 3-point range in the first half, while Palmer also scored in double figures with 10 points off a 5-of-10 effort from the field.
Campbell, a transfer from New Mexico Junior College, was all over the floor, posting eight points, eight rebounds, five steals, three assists and three blocks in 38 minutes of action.
Amerson chipped in eight points and five rebounds while junior forward Yasmeen Thompson added four points, six boards and five steals.
The Cougars started off in control as Ashton knocked down her first 3-point attempt to give Houston the early advantage.
Ashton struck again less than three minutes later with another long-range bomb and followed with a bucket from 23 feet out to give the Cougars a six-point cushion with 12:02 left in the opening half.
Houston struggled with foul trouble down the stretch while also going cold from the field and the Lady Bulldogs took advantage with a 15-2 run to take a 26-19 lead with 5:04 remaining.
Campbell would break the spell with four-straight points and Ashton followed with another trifecta to cut the deficit to one with just over a minute to play.
After Mississippi State widened the lead back to four, Palmer drained a 3-pointer off the glass at the buzzer, but the bucket was overturned upon review.
Mississippi State's Martha Alwal paced the Lady Bulldogs with 23 points and 18 rebounds, while Kendra Grant added 22 points and nine boards.
The Cougars were feisty on defense, forcing 26 turnovers while swiping 17 steals and limiting the Lady Bulldogs to a 32-percent shooting effort (22-of-69).
Houston lost the battle at the free-throw line as Mississippi State had 34 attempts at the charity stripe compared to the Cougars' 15.
Houston opens the 2012-13 home season against Alabama at 7 p.m., Tuesday at Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Cougars dropped to 28-10 all-time in season openers and 7-5 when opening the season on the road.
Mississippi State extended its streak victories in home openers to 27.
Senior point guard Porsche Landry tallied a team-high 16 points in her first action since suffering an injury on Nov. 19, 2011.
The 16-point effort was the 52nd-career game that Landry has scored in double figures.
Landry's four assists pushed her career total to 349, which is one shy of matching Tye Jackson for fourth place all-time.
Seven different players saw their first action as Cougars, including Yasmeen Thompson, Marche' Amerson, Marissa Ashton and Te'onna Campbell, who all made their first starts.
Freshman guard Jessieka Palmer scored in double figures in her first collegiate game with 10 points.
Marche' Amerson (8 points), Alecia Smith (5 points) and Bianca Winslow (3 points) also scored the first points of their careers in the Scarlet and White.
Four freshman combined for 26 points, while seven newcomers accounted for 50 of the 66 points.