NATCHITOCHES, La.--- The Cougars sported three double-figure scorers and overcame an early double-digit deficit, but it wasn't enough, as they fell to Northwestern State by the final of 74-70, Wednesday night at Prather Coliseum.
For the second straight game, sophomore guard Jessieka Palmer came up big for Houston (0-2), as she led the team in scoring with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, while sophomore forward Tyler Gilbert recorded her first career double-double, nabbing a career-best 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Northwestern State's (2-0) Keisha Lee led all scorers with 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field, including knocking down 4-of-7 three-point shots. Forward Trudy Armstead put in 13 points, while guard Janelle Perez collected 10 points and a game-high five assists to round out the double figure scorers for the Demons.
The Cougars came out of the gates cold offensively, converting on just two of their first eight field goal attempts, as the Demons raced out to a 15-4 lead with 13:04 left to play in the first half.
Houston grinded its way back into the game, as it pulled within 26-25 with 5:38 left in the half after a Sanders corner trey, followed by a Gilbert free throw conversion, which accounted for just one of her 15 first half points.
However, Northwestern State managed to regain the momentum and extend things back to an eight-point advantage, but Palmer drilled a half court shot at the halftime buzzer to bring the Cougars within 40-35 at the break.
Both teams went bucket-for-bucket it seemed in the second half, as Houston never let the lead get above seven points, as the Cougars finally took their first lead of the game at 57-56, with 8:08 left to play, after Palmer splashed home her second trey of the game from the top of the key.
Unfortunately for the Cougars that would be the only lead they'd get, as the Demons immediately launched an 8-0 scoring run, holding the Cougars scoreless for just over four minutes, taking a commanding 65-57 advantage with 3:54 left.
Houston was able to close within three points, but the Demons made enough plays down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
Houston dominated down low, outrebounding Northwestern State 54-40 and outscoring the Demons 36-22 in the paint, but the Cougars shot just 52 percent from the free throw line and committed 17 turnovers, directly leading to 17 points for the Demons.
The Cougars now return to Hofheinz Pavilion where they'll host in-state rival Texas A&M, Sunday at 3:30 p.m. CT in the first of back-to-back home contest for Houston.