COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Houston Cougar Women’s Basketball team dropped its season-opening matchup 83-65 at No. 20/RV Texas A&M in the opening round of the Preseason Women’s NIT on Friday in College Station, Texas.
Houston struggled to find a rhythm early in the first quarter, and before they could get on the scoreboard for the first time, Texas A&M had jumped out to a 7-0 lead. With 8:02 remaining in the first frame, sophomore Dorian Branch buried a 3-pointer to give Houston its first basket of the game and spark a 9-3 run for the Cougars to pull within one at 10-9. However, the Aggies would score 20 of the next 30 points in part due to 7-of-8 shooting from the free throw line to lead 30-19 after one quarter.
The Cougars kept themselves into the contest by winning the points-in-the-paint battle 16-10 in the first quarter and scoring eight points off five Texas A&M turnovers, but the Aggies shot 76.9 percent (10-13) in the frame.
Texas A&M used another 7-0 run to open the second quarter and push the lead to 18 with 8:39 remaining in the period. Houston answered with a pair of free throws from junior Octavia Barnes and then back-to-back buckets from Branch to cut the lead to 14. The two squads traded baskets for the remainder of the half until sophomore Jasmyne Harris buried a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 11 after 20 minutes.
The Cougars picked up another spark from Branch to open the third quarter after she hit her third 3-pointer of the night and cut the lead to single digits for the first time since midway through the first quarter. Texas A&M would work to extend the lead back to 10 midway through the third quarter, however back-to-back buckets by Barnes and sophomore Angela Harris cut the lead to 54-48.
Houston would pull within five at 56-51 on Branch’s fourth 3-pointer of the game, but the Aggies closed strong and finished the third frame up 60-53.
Houston pulled within four at 60-56 to open the fourth quarter with a made 3-pointer from sophomore Angela Harris with 9:26 remaining in the game. The Cougars had a chance to inch even closer on the next possession, but a pair of missed free throws swung the momentum in favor of the Aggies, and they would never relinquish it. Texas A&M was able to get to the line 14 times in the fourth quarter, while making 13 to ultimately put the game out of reach.
Score: No. 20/RV Texas A&M 83, Houston 65
Date: Friday, Nov. 10, 2017
Location: Reed Arena (College Station, Texas) | Preseason WNIT First Round
The turning point in the game was Texas A&M’s ability to get to the free throw line. The Aggies took 36 trips to the line and made 31 attempts, while the Cougars finished 13-of-18 from the line in the contest.
Houston: Dorian Branch led the Cougars in the contest with a career-best 17 points while also matching a career-high with two assists. Angela Harris added 14 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Jasmyne Harris contributed 12 points, five boards and matched a career-best with five assists. Junior Serithia Hawkins led the Cougars on the glass with eight rebounds while adding 10 points.
Texas A&M: The Aggies had a pair of players pick up double-doubles in the contest with Khaalia Hillsman scoring 19 points and pulling down 11 rebounds, while Anriel Howard pulled down a game-high 14 boards and scored 11 points. Danni Williams led all players in scoring with 21 points, and Chennedy Carter scored 15 points on 11-of-12 shooting from the free throw line.
NEWS AND NOTES
- With eight rebounds in the contest, junior Serithia Hawkins now has 470 boards in her career. Hawkins passed Stephanie Edwards (468; 1989-93) and is currently tied with Arlene Brown (1987-91) for 21st on the all-time Houston rebounding list.
- Three Cougars made their Houston debut in the contest including Myyah West who earned her first career start and scored four points with four rebounds. Octavia Barnes contributed six points and three boards, while freshman Julia Blackshell-Fair scored two points, pulled down three rebounds and collected her first-career assist.
UP NEXT FOR HOUSTON
The Cougars will move into the consolation bracket of the Preseason WNIT, where they will learn their next opponent on Saturday.
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